02/08/2017 11:49 AM IST | Updated 02/08/2017 12:16 PM IST

India's Chief Justice Has Been Donating Blood For 40 Years, But It's Time To Stop

Doctors have decided that at 65, they can't allow him to continue.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Chief Justice of India, JS Khehar.

August seems to be the month that heralds the end of many longstanding habits for India's 44th Chief Justice, Jagdish Singh Khehar. In addition to retiring as a judge on 27 August, when he turns 65, Justice Khehar will also have to retire from blood donation, a tradition he's maintained unfailingly every three months for the last 40 years.

Doctors attending to him at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) have officially decreed that Justice Khehar is officially too old to continue donating blood, reported The Telegraph. The decision was relayed to him on his quarterly visit to the hospital on 1 August.

Fortunately, the decision has been made purely due to age, not because Justice Khehar suffers from any ailments that disqualify him from donation.

Although the doctor's orders were met by some initial resistance by Justice Khehar, eventually he had to give in. This is one judgement even India's topmost authority on law cannot overturn.

According to the guidelines recommended by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), a person between the age of 18 to 60 can donate blood once every three months provided that they are physically fit, mentally alert and in good health, with a haemoglobin count of over 12.5 grams, among other criteria. These guidelines are not enforceable and blood banks use their own discretion to decide if the donor is over the age of 60.

Justice Khehar, the son of a Kenyan immigrant, has been a vociferous supporter of blood donation all his life. In January, when he was sworn in as the CJI, Financial Express reported that he never missed donation camps organised by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association.