Surrogacy bill passed amid House din
The Lok Sabha saw repeated adjournments today, but managed to pass the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill amid the din. The bill bars commercial surrogacy and allows the process only by close relatives for 'altruistic' reasons.
Proceedings in Parliament were disrupted for the sixth consecutive day on Wednesday with treasury and Opposition benches sparring again over the Rafale deal issue. The TDP, the ADMK and DMK continued to raise the issue of the dam over the Cauvery river and special status for Andhra Pradesh in both the Houses.
However, the surrogacy bill survived the stormy scenes in the House, and was taken up for consideration when the House met at 2 pm. Some members participated in the discussion before the bill was passed.
Health minister J.P. Nadda termed the proposed legislation historic. He said different sections of the society, political parties, the Supreme Court and the Law Commission have spoken against commercial surrogacy and that the bill addresses their concerns.
India had become a hub of commercial surrogacy and surrogate mothers also suffer from exploitation, he told the House.
Some members, however, exhorted the government to expand the scope of the bill.
'It is a good bill but not modern enough,' NCP leader Supriya Sule said.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamul Congress said same sex couples should also be allowed to have a child through surrogacy. She also called for a stop to 'fashion surrogacy', saying some celebrities go for it as they do not want their figures 'destroyed'.
The BJD's Bhartruhari Mahtab said the surrogacy industry had been thriving due to a regulatory gap. He asked the government to define who close relatives can be.
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. It not permitted for live-in partners or single parents, the minister added.
The rules and regulations of the law will define close relatives, he said.
The bill also has penal provision for misuse of surrogacy.