Amid sloganeering and protests by the AIADMK, Congress and TDP members over various issues, the Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Surrogacy Regulation Bill tabled by Union Health Minister JP Nadda. Introducing the bill in the lower house, Nadda said that those who would wish to opt for surrogacy will be required to submit their certificate of infertility within 90 days.
However, Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar from AITC pointed at a significant problem in the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016. In response to Nadda's presentation in the lower house, Dastidar said despite the Supreme Court's path-breaking judgement on section 377 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), there is no mention about the same-sex couples in this Bill.
"The doctors also know the demands from the transgender, same-sex couple. Two male couples require a surrogate mother; two female couples do not need it necessarily but we still have to include them in the bill," Dastidar claimed further.
In September, the Supreme Court had decriminalised gay sex in its much-awaited verdict on a batch of pleas challenging a 158-year-old British-era law under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalised consensual gay sex.
Though the Surrogacy Bill says 'only close relative would be a surrogate mother', it does not clarify the kind of relatives. Surrogacy, which has always been a debatable topic, is banned in many countries across the world.
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 passed in Lok Sabha, reports ANI pic.twitter.com/b0Oca0rQ5P— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) December 19, 2018
In 2009, the Law Commission recommended drafting a Bill to put checks on commercial surrogacy. However, the then Congress government could not pass it for 5 years at that time.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy refers to the process of giving birth as a surrogate mother, often supported by a legal agreement, where a woman agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child or children for an infertile couple, who will ultimately become the parents of the new-born.