The Bombay High Court on Friday questioned the Maharashtra government for the delay in implementation of the amended Human Organ Transplant Act to reduce wastage of corneas.
Recent amendments to the Act state that a trained technician can remove cornea from bodies that have come for post-mortem after taking the consent of the relatives and there is no need for a medical practitioner.
“The amendment also made it mandatory for all hospitals to request the relatives of the deceased for eye donations,” Additional Government Pleader Niranjan Pandit told that court. “However, the State government has not implemented the amendment yet saying that they have still not received notification from the Central government about the amendment.”
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice R.V. More questioned the laidback attitude of the government. “It is not necessary for the State to wait for notification… do you have any objection to amendments? If you are having objections we can understand the hesitation.”
“We already have a committee headed by the Dean of Sir JJ Hospital in place to review and frame guidelines on retrieval, preservation and use of cornea. But unless we receive the notification from the Centre, we cannot implement it… Apart from the healthy corneas that can be used for transplantation, many corneas are also needed for clinical purposes of training medical students,” Mr. Pandit said.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by Sampat Shetty stating that only 14 per cent of the total eyeballs donated were actually utilised by eye banks. The court has now suggested that the amendment be put up before the Assembly session.