Transplantation of human organs act 1994 – There are three main aspects of the Act:

(1) It aims at putting a stop to live unrelated transplants.

(2) In the case of a live related transplant, it defines that the donor and recipient are genetically related, with an exception if the transplant is done with prior approval of the Authorization Committee on an application jointly made by the donor and recipient.

(3) It accepts the brain stem death criterion. Certification of death by a panel of experts consisting of medical officer-in- charge of the hospital, an independent medical specialist, a neurologist or neurosurgeon, and the doctor treating the patient is essential.

The transplantation of human organs act 1994 defined human organ as any part of the human body consisting of a structured arrangement of tissues, which if wholly removed cannot be replicated by the body. Bone marrow transplant is outside the purview of the transplantation of human organs act 1994. The parts that can be donated after death are: kidney, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas, eyes, eardrums and ear bones.

The parts can be removed from the dead body of any donor at any place. Removal of the parts of body from the donors may be done on his authorization or that of the person lawfully in possession of the body. In case of unclaimed bodies in hospital or prison, body parts can be removed after 48 hours. The organ removed should be preserved according to current and accepted scientific methods to ensure viability.

The human parts cannot be removed for any purpose other than therapeutic purposes. The doctor should not remove parts unless he had explained all possible effects, complications and hazards connected with the removal and transplantation, to the donor and recipient respectively.

The transplantation of human organs act 1994 imposes for compulsory registration of hospitals engaged in the removal, storage or transplantation of human organs. The Central and State Governments are empowered to appoint Appropriate Authority which can grant registration of hospitals, renew, suspend or cancel the registration, etc. and to specify Conditions for the same.

The Government is also empowered to appoint Authorization Committee or Committees with nominated members for the purpose of imposing restrictions on the removal and transplantation of human parts, etc.

The transplantation of human organs act 1994 also provides, besides provision for appeal, punishments for unauthorized removal of human parts, or for commercial dealings thereof or for contravention of any other provisions of the act.

Such punishments range from removal of names of the erring medical practitioners from the Registers of the State Medical Council for 2 years for the first offense and permanently for subsequent offense, or imprisonment up to 5 years and fine of Rs. 10,000/ based on the nature and degree of the offense.

An offense under the transplantation of human organs act 1994 is cognizable only when a complaint has been made by either the Appropriate Authority or a person who has given notice to such Appropriate Authority about the alleged offense and his intention to make a complaint to the Court, in that regard.

A set of rules entitled “Transplantation of Human Organs Rules, 1995” along with 13 statutory forms have also been framed by the Central Government. The Ear Drums, Ear Bones Act, 1982 and Eyes Act, 1982, have been repealed.