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
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
- In India, before 1994 there was no legislation banning the sale of
- Section-18 of the act provides punishment for removal of human organ
- 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)