November,6,2016:The view of the Government cannot be super imposed over the will of the people, say legal experts.
Three months post passing of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, by the Union Cabinet legal experts maintain that it will not stand the test of the constitutional rights.
In a panel discussion which was held on thissubject, Soli Sorabjee, Former Attorney General of India stated that Bill imposes restrictions that are in “violation of the basic rights of privacy and the fundamental rights of reproductive autonomy.”
The Bill is yet to be tabled in the Parliament, by the Government.
Continuing pregnancies commissioned by existing surrogacy agreements have been allowed for next 10 months so that the commissioned babies are carried to term.
The final version of Bill which has been approved by the Cabinet is not yet in public domain, but there are serious concerns about five restrictions that have been imposed on the prospective parents and also the commercial surrogate mothers by the new law.
The Bill proposes a complete ban on commercial surrogacy, restricting ethical and also altruistic surrogacy to legally wedded infertile Indian couples, married for at least 5 years only. Further, the husband must be between 26 to 55 years of age and the wife must be between 23 to 50 years of age.
According to the industry experts, is that overseas Indians, foreigners, unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and gay couples are barred from commissioning surrogacy. Only a close married blood relative who must have herself borne a child, and is not an NRI or a foreigner can be a surrogate mother once in a lifetime. Indian couples with the biological or adopted children are prohibited to undertake the surrogacy.
Under the Surrogacy Contract, the commissioning parents will be allowed to only pay the medical expenses and not compensate the surrogate mother is any other way.
Commercial surrogacy, amongst the other offences, would entail a jail term of at least ten years and a fine of up to Rs. 10 lakhs.