The Kerala High Court held that organ donation cannot be assumed to involve exploitation just because the donor is from a low-income background.

Title: Ramachandran P v. State of Kerala
Decided on: 06 November, 2023

+ WP(C) NO. 35672 OF 2023

CORAM: HON’BLE Justice Devan Ramachandran

According to a recent ruling by the Kerala High Court, the District Level Authorization Committee (DLAC) cannot refuse permission for organ donation on the grounds that the donor was likely taken advantage of because she came from a low-income area.

Facts of the Case

The High Court heard an appeal to the DLAC order that stated the donor (the second petitioner) is not giving the organ to the donee (the first petitioner) out of charity. In order to obtain DLAC approval for organ donation, the donor and donee went before the court.  The petitioner’s attorney told the court that the donor’s primary motivation for donating the kidney was her love and affection for the donee. It was further contended that prior to the DLAC, the donor’s brother and spouse, among other family members, had made it apparent that the organ was being donated out of pure charity. Conversely, Government Pleader said that the donor’s and her family members’ comments were inconsistent. Additionally, it was stated that because the donor came from a low-income neighbourhood, extra precautions needed to be taken to make sure she wasn’t taken advantage of.

Courts analysis and decision

As mentioned by DLCA, the Court declared that it was unable to identify any discrepancies in the donor’s and her family members’ statements. It stated that although the donor was not officially married, she had been cohabiting as husband and wife for the previous sixteen years with a man named Manoj. The Court discovered that Manoj had been the donee’s driver since 2006 and that, despite the donee’s relatives’ opposition to their relationship, he had assisted them in finding housing. It stated that because of an earlier injury, Manoj was unable to donate his organs. The Court determined that the donee’s remarks demonstrated the donor’s affectionate and selfless intention to donate her organ. The writ petition was granted by the Court, who also instructed the DLAC to reexamine the case by referencing the parties’ certificate of selflessness.

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Written by- Hargunn Kaur Makhija

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