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Kerala High Court Quashes Case Against Aster Medcity and 9 Doctors Accused of Misconduct in Organ Transplantation

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Organ Donation Law Insider

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Published on: 26 July 2023 at 00:30 IST

The Kerala High Court has dismissed the criminal case lodged against Aster Medcity hospital and nine doctors who were accused of violating protocols in organ transplantation [Aster Medcity & Ors. v State of Kerala & Anr.].

Justice Ziyad Rahman AA, presiding over the case, quashed the charges pressed against the petitioners, which alleged offenses punishable under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1944.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by a doctor and social activist, S Ganapathy, who claimed that Aster Medcity and its practicing doctors had not adhered to the prescribed protocols for certifying brain death and harvesting organs for transplantation.

The specific incident in question was purportedly from March 2019, with the complaint being filed in April 2021.

Subsequently, the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court in Ernakulam took cognizance of the case and issued summons to the accused parties.

In response, the petitioners vehemently denied the allegations, asserting that they were baseless and unsustainable. They further argued that the Magistrate had handled the case in a mechanical manner, and the complaint itself lacked merit since the complainant had no legal standing to file it.

The petitioners pointed out that in 2017, the Government of Kerala had introduced new guidelines to enhance transparency in brain stem death certification and organ donation processes within the state’s hospitals. These guidelines made it mandatory for government doctors to be present during the certification of brain stem deaths in Kerala’s hospitals.

According to the accused, they had followed all the appropriate protocols for certifying brain death, as mentioned in the complaint.

Taking all arguments into consideration, Justice Rahman allowed the petitions filed by the doctors accused and Aster Medcity, effectively quashing the proceedings in the criminal cases against them.

The court’s decision comes as a relief to Aster Medcity and the nine doctors, vindicating their stance against the charges of misconduct in organ transplantation. The ruling acknowledges their compliance with the established protocols and emphasizes the importance of adhering to the guidelines set forth by the government to ensure transparency and accountability in organ transplantation processes.