The Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed the plea by petitioners seeking to engage in 'Swap Transplantation' and donation of kidneys between persons not related to each other.

The bench of Justice Vinod S. Bhardwaj noted that the act of swapping is not a prohibited act under the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994 and the Rules of 2014 notified by the Government of India.

In this case, petitioner No.1 and petitioner No.2 are suffering from various ailments of the kidneys.

The wife of petitioner No.2 and the mother-in-law of petitioner No.1 voluntarily and out of natural love and affection agreed to donate their kidneys.

However, the Authorization Committee of the hospital disapproved the case of the petitioners on the ground that swapping of organs was not possible since a mother-in-law and son-in-law cannot be said to be near relatives.

Advocate Molly A. Lakhanpal appeared for the petitioners and Satya Pal Jain, Ad. SG with Sudhir Nar, Senior Panel Counsel appeared for the respondents-Union of India.

The Court noted that the term 'near relative' has been defined as an immediate, lineal, ascendant/descendant; a blood collateral or a spouse.

The Court held that such definition although comprehensive, however, is not aimed to defeat the object of the Act.

"Once the spouse is recognized as a relative within the definition under Section 2(i), the object of Section 9 (3)(A) should not be permitted to be defeated merely by adopting such rigid, dogmatic and stigmatic interpretation and not to include people who get related by matrimony and would have same love and affection.", the Court observed.

The Court held that loss of human life should not be permitted merely at the alter of technicalities.

The Court further observed that "The law recognized relation mentioned therein as 'near relative' and did not intend to impose any condition that no person other than a near relative can be a donor, if all other parameters prescribed in Rule 7 of the Rules of 2014 are satisfied."

Thus the Court in exercise of its inherent and equitable jurisdiction allowed the plea and set aside the Order passed by the Authorisation Committee denying approval.

Cause Title- Ajay Mittal and Others v. Union of India and Another

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