Monday June 25, 2018

No Parenthood for aspiring Single Parents, says Proposed Surrogacy Law

As per the bill, the intending couples should be legally married for at least five years and should be Indian citizens to undertake surrogacy which would be allowed only for altruistic reasons. It also specifies the age limit for an infertile couple, where the woman should be aged between 23-50 years and the man between 26-55 years.

0
//
88
A pregnant woman, Pixabay
Republish
Reprint

New Delhi, Apr 16, 2017: Surrogacy has proved to be a boon for many singles who wanted the bliss of parenthood. Bollywood stars like Tushar Kapoor and Karan Johar were in the limelight for their recent parenthood obtained via surrogacy.

However, it appears as if it is not going to be that simple to become a parent via surrogacy in future when the proposed surrogacy law comes in action.
Proposed law restricts this method by allowing only legally wedded couples. Several experts including lawyers and doctors, barring a few, were of the view that the window of surrogacy should not be closed for single parents and the couples should have the option to choose anyone who is not a close relative as a surrogate mother.

However, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade had a different and mixed take on the entire issue. While maintaining that it has become a “fashion” among celebrities to become a single parent, he advocated doing away with the provision to allow only a couple’s close relative to become a surrogate mother.

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, introduced in Lok Sabha last year, also faced criticism from practitioners of family law like Priya Hingorani and Anil Malhotra, who assailed the provisions which take away the rights of gays and lesbians from attaining parenthood with a clause that only legally wedded persons can go for surrogacy.

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

The proposed law virtually bars all others like unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and homosexuals from opting children through surrogacy.

Dr Bikas Kumar Singh, Chief Medical Officer at a major private hospital here who preferred not to comment on the aspect of single parents, expressed reservation on the point of restriction that mandates a surrogate mother to be a close relative.

“The last hope for a childless couple should not be curtailed but extended with due filtering,” Singh said.

Giving a broader perspective, Hingorani said it was not correct to only allow a close relative to be a surrogate mother as her confidentiality has to be maintained and anyone else should be permitted to do so.

Malhotra said the bar on unmarried couples and others from opting for surrogacy was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution which provides equality before the law and equal protection.

As per the bill, the intending couples should be legally married for at least five years and should be Indian citizens to undertake surrogacy which would be allowed only for altruistic reasons. It also specifies the age limit for an infertile couple, where the woman should be aged between 23-50 years and the man between 26-55 years.

Naphade, who has filed a petition in the Supreme Court opposing commercialisation of surrogacy, said he does not subscribe to the concept of single parent and there should be a time frame after which a married couple can go for surrogacy.

“It should not be a substitute for having a child through an unnatural process. The child should have both a father and a mother. When he goes out in the society, he will have a problem if he does not have a father or a mother. It is in the larger interest of the child,” he contended.

However, these experts were united on their view that the clause of close relatives becoming surrogates was “objectionable” and would create family problems as it could reveal the identity of the surrogate mother, which needs to be kept secret.

Hingorani, who was of the opinion that this clause would be challenged in court, said “when a single parent can adopt a child, why can’t they go for surrogacy? It is contradictory.

The intention of the bill is not to make surrogacy commercial.

But you cannot single out gay and lesbian couples. When single mothers and live-in partners are recognised by law, how can you exclude them from surrogacy?”

While Naphade said the provision will be a “little problematic” and it needs to be debated, Dr Singh said the identity of the surrogate mother must be kept secret and if she is their close relative, there are chances that the child would come to know about it at a later stage.

Malhotra was of the view that commercial surrogacy will still flourish and unethical practices continue. So, the better method would be to provide a regulatory authority with statutory powers like CARA is for adoptions.

“This clause of close relatives being surrogates will create family problems and conflicts with relatives in the family fold, as current societal practices in India may not find such a practice acceptable in traditional homes,” he said.

They, however, differed in their opinion on the provision of disallowing foreigners from opting surrogacy in India.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

While Dr Singh agreed with the government in disallowing foreigners saying it would ensure that women from the middle or lower middle classes are not exploited, Hingorani said there should be uniformity on the issue across the world and in many nations, they do not allow surrogacy. So why do people from there come here for it, she asked.

The woman lawyer said surrogacy should be legalised and open to others as well and proper norms should be evolved.

People should be allowed only after they fulfill all criteria.

She said the bill should include that the surrogate mother’s health is properly taken care of, both pre- and post- delivery. And, instead of compensating her with hefty money, her health should be given priority.

Dr Singh said that all medical aspects are covered in the bill and added that health of the woman should be considered but it should not be made the only criteria.

Malhotra said the ban on Non-Resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizens of India per se does not appear to be satisfying any test of a valid bar. Such a discrimination clearly violates Article 14 of the Constitution when brought in parity with adoptions permissible to the NRIs, PIOs and the OCIs, he said.

In January this year, the Rajya Sabha Chairman had referred the legislation, as introduced in the Lok Sabha in November last year, to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare for in-depth examination. The parliamentary panel has invited suggestions on the legislation from all stakeholders.

-prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram Twitter @NikitaTayal6

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Lust Stories Makers Happy With Empowered Platform Like Netflix

"That is why there is more scope for the digital platforms to reach out to these urban pockets than cinema halls. The idea is not one versus the other... The approach is more inclusive."

0
Netflix
Netflix is an empowered platform- Karan Johar. Pixabay

Four Indian filmmakers Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee — each known for their unique style — have come together for the anthology “Lust Stories”, which will be out on Netflix next month. They are happy to associate with an “empowered platform”, which allows their creativity to be showcased far and wide.

At the trailer launch of “Lust Stories” here on Friday, when asked if Netflix has given them extra freedom as there is no censorship on digital media, Karan said: “Look, we are not showing the film on Netflix because there is a lot of freedom (in terms of censorship). We are showing the film because of its reach.

“Netflix reaches 190 countries. For a filmmaker and storyteller, it is important to reach out to the widest audience with our story. There is no scene in the film that might get censored…Netflix is an empowered platform with a worldwide popularity.”

Karan’s short film features Vicky Kaushal, Kiara Advani and Neha Dhupia.

Ronnie Screwvala, one of the producers of the film, said: “Netflix is a global platform. We have been trying to do crossover cinema for 100 years, and now people will get a chance to do crossover cinema. Now we have an audience (through Netflix) that caters to a wider audience, not just to the South Asian (audience), but all over. That is a great opportunity.”

How are they planning to reach out to rural India where people may not necessarily have access to mobile phones, Screwvala said: “If we are talking about rural India, of course, it will take time to reach. But when we look at the footfall and box office collection, 60 per cent of it comes from metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

netflix
Lust Stories will be out on Netflix from next month. Bollywood Country

“That is why there is more scope for the digital platforms to reach out to these urban pockets than cinema halls. The idea is not one versus the other… The approach is more inclusive.”

Actress Bhumi Pednekar, who features in Zoya’s short story, said: “As actors and filmmakers, we want our stories to reach as many people as possible, and Netflix is one of such platforms. I think the digital audience is braver and more accepting towards new content. They are looking for new stories.”

Asked if practising freedom of expression is easier on a digital platform, Zoya said: “Yes and no… I mean there is not something we are showing in the film that cannot be shown otherwise.”

Shraddha Kaapoor: Shraddha Kapoor to Endorse Bag, Accessory Brand 

Talking about the given freedom on a digital platform for the filmmakers and viewers, Dibakar said: “You see, as filmmakers we will find our way even within the limited freedom we are given. But this platform has given freedom to the audience.

“I believe that freedom is about having a choice. If we do not have the choice, then freedom is a theoretical discussion. So I think with this platform, the audience should have the choice to experience an intimate experience with few people or with oneself… So this platform provides more freedom to the audience than filmmakers.”

The film “Lust Stories” will release on June 15. (BollywoodCountry)