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TOHO Act 1994

The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act ,1994 is the law enacted by the parliament of India and introduced by the ministry of health and family welfare dated 4 February 1994 which deals with the transplantation and donation of 11 human organs and tissues of an alive donor or diseased person.This act is applicable to only those Indian administered states where the act has been adopted or enforced by the state governments but it applies to all the union territories.

What is organ transplantation?

An organ transplantation is a surgical operation where a feeling or damaged organ in the human body is removed and replaced by a new one.

TOHO ACT, is meant to provide transplantation of organs for therapic purpose and for prevention of commercial dealings in human organs. The central act illegalizes the buying and selling of human organ and makes cash for kidney transaction a commercial offence.

It recognizes for the first time in India, the concept of brain-stem death paving for the way for a cadaver based kidney transplant program.
The Act details action that amount to direct participation in or abatement of the organ trade, these offences are punishable under section-19 of the act it had made the offence of kidney trading non cognizable. According to WHO illegal organ trade occurs when organs are removed from the body for the purpose of commercial transaction.
  • In India, before 1994 there was no legislation banning the sale of organs.
  • Section-18 of the act provides punishment for removal of human organ without authority.
  • Indian laws permits live donation from non relatives.
If the organ trade is not controlled, disappearance especially among Street children,violences, etc may flourish along with theft of organ of executed criminals in future. The people may loose trust in the medical community. Therefore, the transplantation of human organs requires proper amendment to suit the need of the hour.

The objective of legislation needs to be expanded to cover public interest and ethical issue of organ transplantation. It is not only the check on commercialization but also the available under distribution to be covered along with it.

Written By Umra Siddiqui
(Techno India University)

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