Monday May 28, 2018

Govt limits surrogacy to ‘infertile married Indian couples’

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New Delhi: The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that it was opposed to “commercial surrogacy” and was in the process of enacting a law to make it a punishable offence.

“The government does not support the commercial surrogacy and it would be limited to Indian married infertile couples only and not to foreigners,” the union government said in an affidavit on Wednesday.

The Centre told the court that only altruistic surrogacy to the needy infertile married Indian couple would be provided after their needs were assessed and found to be genuine.

The affidavit was filed after an apex court bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N V Ramana earlier in the morning adjourned the hearing after taking exception to the government position being reported by the media even before the court heard of it.

The court directed the matter to be listed on November 24.

The court was also told that the government was in the process of bringing a comprehensive legal framework for not only protecting the rights of the surrogate mother but also for prohibiting and penalising commercial surrogacy.

The Centre said an appropriate state authority would be set up under the proposed Assisted Reproductive Techniques (Regulation) Bill, 2014, to ascertain the genuineness of the need of infertile married Indian couples to have children.

This was stated by Dr Soumya Swaminathan, secretary, department of health research, ministry of health and family welfare, in response to a number of questions raised by the court in its October 14 order.

The questions pertained to the government stand on commercial surrogacy, status of the surrogate mother, pain and sufferings of the surrogate mother for nine months, risk and psychological and emotional problems, and the mother of the surrogate child.

Responding to a question posed by the apex court, the central government said the “import of the human embryo is prohibited except for research purposes based on the guidelines of the department of health research”.

The Centre’s affidavit also said that provision would be incorporated in law to penalise the commissioning couples who failed to take the custody of a child with disabilities born from a surrogate mother.

(IANS)

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)

 

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