The Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court that it will withdraw its April 11 notification that put the onus on hospitals across the state of verifying documents of donors and recipients of organ transplants.
The statement was made by Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni before a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Madhav Jamdar.
Kumbhakoni said that the government will issue a revised notification that will "supersede" the present one as its aim is to prevent the exploitation of poor people in organ transplantation procedures.
The HC was hearing a plea filed by a Pune hospital challenging the April 11 notification.
SR Nargolkar, the advocate for the petitioner hospital, contended that hospital administrations and doctors could only ascertain the compatibility of donors and recipients. Seeking a stay on the notification, Nargolkar said that they were not equipped to verify the legality of such transactions, or whether there was a monetary transaction between them or the identities of the parties involved. He questioned as to how could the government fasten the liability of certification that a donor is genuine.
However, the state government contended that while the authorisation committees appointed under the 'Organ Transplant Act' conducted requisite verification, the new notification had been issued to add another level of checks.
The government affidavit read that the notification didn’t mean that its authorisation committees appointed under the Organ Transplant Act to verify documents will not do their duty. This is only to add “a filter at the level of the local institutional committee to examine the genuineness of documents submitted for organ transplants which can then be evaluated by the state level authorisation committee”.
Initially, Kumbhakoni argued that there have been serious allegations regarding organ donation rackets wherein doctors and hospitals are involved. "In such a situation, why couldn’t the law enforcement agency ask the hospitals to be accountable too?" asked Kumbhakoni.
To this, the HC remarked: “Look at the rules. The authorisation committee has to verify if the documents are genuine.”
Kumbhakoni then said that the government has realised that its notification needed some “fine-tuning”. “We will withdraw this notification and come up with a fresh one to supersede it, in accordance with the law,” he added. The HC has kept the petition for further hearing on May 5.