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Kidney patient dies awaiting justice
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Another failure, almost!

Mr Suresh Chander might not have been the only instance of a kidney patient dying while awaiting decision on his writ seeking directions to the authorisation committee to allow kidney donation.

Had not a Bench headed by Mr Justice Bedi acted swiftly, another kidney patient, Mr Rajinder Kumar of Jalandhar, might have met the same fate.

His petition, filed on November 4, 2004, was also adjourned eight times without even notice being issued. It was finally allowed by another Bench on February 22, 2005.

Chandigarh, April 14
For 61-year-old Suresh Chander, both of whose kidneys were completely damaged, it was a case of justice delayed is justice denied. He died awaiting justice which never came his way.

Having approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court for directions to the Punjab Government’s Authorisation Committee, which sanctions donation of kidney by a healthy person to a kidney patient, to allow donation of a kidney to him, Mr Suresh passed away without getting even a single hearing from the Bench. A close family friend, Mrs Rekha, had offered to donate one kidney to him.

His petition was adjourned six times by a Bench headed by the then Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, without even a notice being issued to the respondents.

When, after Chief Justice Roy’s transfer to Guwahati High Court, the petition finally came up before a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal it was too late.

Suresh had already died of kidney failure.

A resident of Ambala, he had approached the High Court on November 18, 2004, after the Authorisation Committee turned down his request for allowing donation of a kidney to him by Mrs Rekha. An appeal filed before the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab, who is the appellate authority in such cases, was also turned down.

In his petition, Mr Suresh stated that Mrs Rekha had agreed to donate her kidney to him since nobody in his own family was able to donate a kidney to him due to medical reasons — the transplant stands a chance of succeeding only if the blood groups of the donor and patient match.

As per the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, if the donor is not related to the recipient, approval of the authorisation committee is a must. The committee has to make sure that money transactions have not taken place in lieu of the proposed donation.

When the petition first came up before the Bench headed by then Chief Justice Roy on November 20, 2004, it did not issue notice. Instead, it ordered that three copies of the petition be handed over to Senior Deputy Advocate-General, Haryana, “so that he could have instructions in the matter”.

The petition was adjourned to December 6, 2004. On December 7, 2004, the case was not even taken up and was simply adjourned to January 10, 2005.

As per the High Court record accessed by The Tribune, the petition was adjourned four more times “by order” of the Bench without it ever being taken up for hearing.

It finally came up before the Bench headed by Mr Justice Bedi on March 4, which was informed by the petitioner’s counsel, advocate Narender Hooda, that while waiting for the petition to be decided, the petitioner had died of kidney failure.

Suresh Chander is not the only case where failure of the High Court to decide a case in a timely manner has resulted in the petitioner’s death.

The Tribune had on November 31, 2004, highlighted how a Congress leader of Bhiwani, Mr Ramesh Chand Masta, was brutally murdered while the High Court sat on his petition for security. Mr Masta had come to the High Court after escaping death when some criminals shot at him and injured him.

His petition was not taken up, again by a Bench headed by then Chief Justice Roy. Finally, he was shot dead while returning from the High Court, after his petition was again adjourned without even a notice being issued.


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