No focus even on implementation of Act of 1997
HC’s numerous directives since 2013 being taken casually
JAMMU, Nov 17: Despite increasing demand from the people suffering from different life threatening ailments, State Government is soft-paddling on obtaining benefits of National Organ Transplant Programme of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare even after numerous directions in this regard from the State High Court.
Moreover, there is no focus on implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Transplantation of Human Organs Act, which was enacted 21 years back with the objective of regulation of removal, storage and transplantation of human organs and to ensure prevention of commercial dealings of human organs.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that several years back Union Government had launched National Organ Transplant Programme to promote organ donation across the country. Under this Programme, financial assistance is extended to the States for establishment of organ transplant centre(s) keeping in view increased incidence of chronic diseases leading to failure of organs and huge gap between organ demand and supply of donor organs.
However, till date Jammu and Kashmir has failed to obtain any benefit of the Programme although demand for opening organ transplant centres is growing with every passing year and there is no shortage of potential donors, sources said.
“The non-serious approach in availing benefits of National Organ Transplant Programme is notwithstanding the fact that State High Court has passed numerous directions vis-à-vis setting up of organ transplant centre(s) in the Public Interest Litigation titled Smile Social Youth Club Versus State of J&K and Others since 2013”, they regretted.
“The PIL raises the extremely critical deficiency of organ transplant centres in the State..….there is no organ transplant centre anywhere in this State and this serious matter has remained pending in this court since 2013 without the authorities moving a single step”, Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe observed three days back when the PIL again came up for hearing.
What to talk of obtaining benefit of National Organ Transplant Programme, the State Government has even failed to implement Jammu and Kashmir Transplantation of Human Organs Act, which was enacted in 1997 to regulate removal, storage and transplantation of human organs and to ensure prevention of commercial dealings of human organs.
There are detailed provisions in the Act that stipulate the conditions for grant of registration to hospitals and minimum standards required for transplantation of any human organ. Moreover, J&K Transplantation of Human Organs Rules, 1999 lay down a scheme for donors as well as the methodology for removal and transplantation of the organs.
“As per the provisions of this Act, the State Government should have given registration to sufficient number of hospitals for organ transplantation after creating necessary facilities but this aspect has also failed to receive due attention during the past 21 years”, sources regretted.
It is pertinent to mention here that in the PIL filed by Smile Social Youth Club the Division Bench headed by the then Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed in the month of December last year had expressed dismay over non-implementation of the Act and passed strictures against the Health and Medical Education Department.
“When the legislature has done its job, it was questionable what the Health and Medical Education Department had done to comply with the Act for organ donation”, the DB had remarked. At that time, the then Advocate General had assured the High Court that the Act will be implemented within shortest possible time. “But even after the lapse of nearly one year there is absolutely no focus on implementation of the Act”, sources said.
When contacted, Principal Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department Atal Dulloo said, “a proposal was submitted to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on July 3, 2018 for setting up of organ transplant centres both at Government Medical College Jammu and Government Medical College Srinagar but the response is still awaited”.
“We will again take up the matter with the Union Ministry”, he said in response to a question.