Gujarat HC upholds earlier order allowing organ transplant for ‘non-domicile’ resident

A division bench of the Gujarat High Court Thursday dismissed the state government’s appeal against its single bench order permitting a non-domicile Ahmedabad resident to apply as a kidney recipient.

A single-judge bench of the HC had passed the order on May 5 after relaxing a condition of the Gujarat Deceased Donor Organ and Tissue Transplantation Guidelines (G-DOT) that stipulates domicile residents to be given priority as organ recipients. The guidelines also mandate an organ recipient to have a domicile certificate at the time of registration.

During the case hearing Thursday, the state authorities submitted before a bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice AJ Shastri that the only grounds for challenging the earlier order is that the petitioner has not attained domicile status of Gujarat. However, the court refused to accept this submission and recorded that the petitioner has indisputably been an Ahmedabad resident for more than six years and hence, “cannot be denied an organ transplant”.

Upholding the single-judge bench’s order, the HC bench dismissed the state government’s appeal saying it has “no merit”. The single-judge bench’s direction to not insist on the said clause of domicile status “does not suffer from any infirmity”, the bench noted.

The petitioner, a Chartered Accountant working at Adani Port and Special Economic Zone in Ahmedabad for more than six-and-a-half years, suffers from Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGC), a chronic kidney disease, due to which he is facing a complete kidney failure. The petitioner has been advised to undergo kidney transplant due to the life-threatening condition, and in the interim, is sustaining through heamodialysis twice a week at a private hospital in Ahmedabad.

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The petitioner submitted that the Gujarat Deceased Donor Organ and Tissue Transplantation Guidelines Clause 13.10 (C) (2) states that a patient in need of an organ has to register and produce a domicile certificate at the time of registration. Under the norms, only patients who have produced such a certificate at the time of registration are eligible for the benefit.

However, the court of Justice Vaibhavi Nanavati, in an order dated May 5, directed the state authorities to accept the form of the petitioner’s requirement for the organ without taking into consideration the said clause of the guideline.

This order was challenged by the state government, the state advisory committee for organ and tissue transplantation, and the State Organ and Tissue Transplantation Organisation (SOTTO) before a division bench of the HC.

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