A bill preventing commercial surrogacy and allowing the process only by close relatives for “altruistic” reasons was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with health minister J.P. Nadda terming the proposed legislation historic. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill was passed after an hour long debate amid noisy protests by Congress and AIADMK members over various issues.
He said different sections of society, political parties, the Supreme Court and the Law Commission have spoken against commercial surrogacy and that the bill addresses these concerns.
India had become a hub of commercial surrogacy and surrogate mothers also suffered from exploitation, he told the House. Only defined mother and family can avail of surrogacy and the same was not permitted for live-in partners or single parents, the health minister said.
The rules and regulations of the law will define close relatives, he added. The bill also has penal provision for misuse of surrogacy.
Though the bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2016, it had been referred to the standing committee and after amendments suggested by it, was introduced in the lower house and passed on Wednesday.
Though members of different parties who spoke during the debate supported the bill, some including Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamul Congress and Supriya Sule (NCP) exhorted the government to expand its scope.
It is a good bill but not modern enough, Ms Sule said. Ms Dastidar said same sex couples should also be allowed to have a child through surrogacy.
She also called for stopping “fashion surrogacy”, saying some celebrities go for it as they do not want their figures “destroyed”.
BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab said surrogacy industry had been thriving due to regulatory gap. He asked the government to define who close relatives can be.
Mr Nadda said the aim of the bill was to stop commercial surrogacy but at the same time save families by allowing them to have children by using modern science.
Source – AsianAge