The High Court (HC) today ruled that voluntary donors beyond certain relatives can donate kidneys.
The court also said the voluntary donors will have to be selected after their physical and mental health condition check-up, and the drug-addicted persons cannot be kidney donor.
The HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman delivered the verdict on a writ petition filed seeking its directives so that voluntary donors beyond certain relatives can donate kidneys.
As per the HC rule, no one can run any business over kidney.
The HC ordered the government to bring an amendment to the Organ Transplantation Act-1999 [amended in 2018] incorporating a provision in six months so that the emotional donors including near relatives can donate kidneys to the patients following the conditions, Deputy Attorney General Saifuddin Khaled told The Daily Star.
He said only the near relatives can now donate kidneys as per the existing provisions of the law.
One Fatema Zohra filed the petition with the HC in 2017, challenging the constitutionality of sections 2 (ga), 3 and 6 of the Organ Transplantation Act 1999 [amended in 2018]. These sections mainly focused on the definition of the related persons.
Fatema donated a kidney to her ailing daughter Fahmida, but the kidney got damaged after a year. Then she managed a donor for her daughter, but the donor could not donate the kidney due to the bar in the law.
Later, Fatema submitted the petition to the HC, seeking necessary order on the issue.
On August 24, 2017, the HC issued a rule asking the government to explain why the above-mentioned sections of the act should not be declared unconstitutional.
Barrister Rashna Imam argued for the petitioner while DAG Saifuddin Khaled represented the state and Advocate ZI Khan Panna appeared for Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) as an intervener in the case.
On November 7 this year, an expert committee submitted a report to the HC as per its August 28 order, saying that there is no need to allow voluntary donors beyond certain relatives as it may give rise to several problems, including organ trafficking.
It said the inclusion of a provision allowing voluntary kidney donors may give the rich people a chance to exploit the poor by offering them benefits or subjecting them to physical and mental torture.
The seven-member committee headed by Md Rafiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Renal Association and pro-vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, handed over the report to the Supreme Court registrar general’s office on October 29 for placing it to the HC as per its earlier order.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, who voluntarily attended the hearing, told the HC on November 7 that the law needs to be amended so that any healthy person other than the relatives can donate organs.
He also said that there must be a provision in the law so that poor people are not victimised and the donors are compensated appropriately.