The High Court of Bombay at Goa has directed the state government and the Union of ministry of health to immediately set up ‘state organ and tissue transplant organisation’ in Goa within six months as enjoined by the Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissues Rules, 2014.
When the case came up for hearing before the division bench of the High Court comprising Justice R M Borde and Justice P K Chavan, Wilbur Menezes, the counsel for the petitioner ‘Mango Foundation’, mentioned that it appears that the state government had, albeit late, sent in January this year a proposal for setting up of the SOTTO to the Union ministry of health and family welfare, but the Union has been sitting on the proposal.
Menezes brought to the notice of the HC that the non-establishment of the SOTTO is resulting in patients or prospective recipients from Goa losing out on organs, and organs are being allocated directly to patients on the list maintained by the Regional Organ Transplant Authority, Mumbai.
All this, he observed, meant that no cadaveric transplants (brain dead transplants) are being conducted in Goa.
Appearing for the state, Advocate General Dattaprasad Lawande told the HC that its proposal is
pending before the Union ministry, and that the state has done everything from its side.
The High Court has also directed the authorities to make available the necessary cross-matching facilities after hearing the arguments in the case.
Menezes requested the HC to keep the matter open given the gravity of the subject matter so that the respondents can file their compliance report within six months.
Speaking to media persons, Menezes said, “We feel tremendously proud that the outcome of this petition will positively lead to Goans finally being able to avail cadaveric organs that in turn will save lives.”
The petition filed by the Mango Foundation through its member Severino Fernandes had said the non-establishment of the SOTTO as mandated by the Transplantation of Human Organs Act and Rules – with a criteria based transparent waiting lists for organs linked to the regional and state organ and tissue transplant organisation, western region, and the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation – has directly resulted in patient recipients or prospective recipients from the Goa losing out on opportunities of life-saving organ and tissue transplantation to recipients from other states.