Kerala High Court Allows 17-Year-Old Minor To Donate Liver For Her Father; Says “Blessed Are Parents Who Have Children Like Her”


The Kerala High Court on Tuesday allowed a 17-year-old minor girl to donate part of her father’s liver for transplant surgery under the 1994 Human Organ and Tissue Transplantation Act and Rules. .

Justice VG Arun when passing the order he said it is gratifying to note that the constant struggle put up by Devananda has finally succeeded.

I applaud the petitioner’s fight to save his father’s life. Blessed are the parents who have children like Devananda…The written request authorizes the applicant to donate a portion of the father’s liver for transplant surgery, subject to the other requirements of the Act and the Rules.

Writ Petition A minor girl sought permission to donate her liver to the petitioner’s father, who has decompensated chronic liver disease with Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Among the patient’s close relatives, only the applicant’s liver was found to be a match, but the 1994 Human Organ and Tissue Transplantation Act and Rules do not allow the donation of organs by a minor. Therefore, in the Writ Petition, it has been preferred to request that the petitioner be recognized as entitled to receive an exemption for donation at his age, as prescribed in Rule 18 of the Human Organ and Tissue Transplantation Rules, 2014, and he also requests instructions from the hospital authority to do so. their medical obligation according to the provision.

The Court stated that the purpose of the Act is to regulate the removal, storage and transplantation of human organs and tissues for therapeutic purposes and to prevent commercial dealings in human organs and tissues and related matters.

The court has issued a temporary order, allowing the appropriate authority to hear the applicant and take a decision according to the provisions of article 5.3.g). However, the Appropriate Authority concluded that since the patients are not eligible for liver transplantation as a therapeutic option, the question of donating part of the applicant’s liver does not arise.

The petitioner contended that the refusal of the petitioner’s application by the appropriate Authority is illegal as the decision was taken without considering the donating capacity of the petitioner. According to the lawyer, the care was entirely in the health condition of the recipient and does not take into account any provision under the Law or the Rules. According to the lawyer, if the donor is medically fit, is a close relative and is a voluntary donor, the appropriate Authority should give permission.

The lawyers drew attention to a certificate in which other experts believe that the only method to save the patient’s life and cure Hepatocellular Carcinoma is to perform a living donor liver transplant and it can be decided by the appropriate Authority. it can be canceled and the transplant allowed.

The Government Pleader submitted that the provisions of the Act prohibit the donation of organs by minors and rule 5(3)(g) provides an exemption only in certain exceptional circumstances and it is for the appropriate Authority to decide whether there are exceptional circumstances or not.

The Court found that the Appropriate Authority and the Expert relied on USCF protocols in concluding that the patient is not a suitable candidate for transplant. However, the conflicting opinion expressed by the Rajagiri Health Care and Education Trust’s expert panel was based on the Toronto criteria. Faced with two different expert opinions and aware of the consequences of refusing the request for permission to donate the organs, the Court asked the Expert Committee for a further opinion.

Complying with the order of the Court, the Expert Committee re-examined the matter and gave its opinion, on the basis of which the Appropriate Authority recommended to accept the claim of the petitioner.

As per my understanding of the said matter, the contention of the petitioner can be accepted subject to the final order of the Hon’ble High Court based on the facts that the petitioner has no option but to transplant and the donor is full. aware of the consequences of giving a part of the liver to his father out of compassion, he has taken the decision of his own free will and without any coercion or coercion. Accordingly, it is hereby ordered and the order of the Hon’ble High Court WP (C) 36826/2022 dated 23 November 2022 is complied with.”, Appropriate Authority presented before the Court.

Accordingly, the Court granted the Writ Petition allowing the petitioner to donate a portion of his father’s liver for transplant surgery in accordance with the other requirements of the Act and the Rules.

Case Title: Devananda PP Versus Department of Health and Family Welfare and Ors.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 663

Click here to Read/Download the Order

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