Illegal Organ Transplant can Attract 10-year Jail

The Hindu
NEW DELHI, August 13, 2011 – The Lok Sabha on Friday approved an amended Bill, which provides for a stringent punishment of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to Rs.1 crore for illegal organ and tissue transplantation. The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Bill, introduced in the House in 2009, was passed after including 43 amendments recommended by a parliamentary standing committee, including making punishment tougher for violators. “The proposed Act is to regulate removal, storage and transplantation of organs and tissues. This will also help those hundreds and thousands of people awaiting transplantation of their organs and provide them a fresh lease of life,” said Health Minister Ghulam Nazbi Azad. The amended Bill includes grandparents and grandchildren in the list of near relatives who could be donors and for organ swapping, and setting up a network of organ retrieval and storage systems across the country. It also includes specialised training for ICU staff dealing with terminally ill patients and involved in organ retrieval, and setting up a donors’ registry. The amended legislation provides for stringent measures to check illegal trade in human organs and stop exploitation of the poor. More than 20 members participated in the discussion on the Bill and unanimously supported the changes brought in by the legislation. The Bill seeks to include “human tissues” along with organs and makes it clear that organs or tissues of mentally-challenged, mentally-retarded and mentally-ill persons should not be removed before their death.
Tough measures
The amendments provide for tough measures — jail term of five years, extendable to 10 years, and a fine of Rs. 20 lakh extendable to Rs.1 crore — against those indulging in illegal transplantation. Punishment is also provided for those who make or receive payment for supply of organs and tissues, as also for making advertisements or negotiations for illegal transplantation. Such violators will face imprisonment for a term not less than one year which may extend to three years, and a fine which shall not be less than Rs. 5 lakh and may extend to Rs. 25 lakh.