Rethinking the Surrogacy Bill

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, introduced ostensibly to provide a legal framework for surrogacy in India, is a regressive legislation that seeks to control women’s bodies and reinforces heteronormative notions of what a family is. By limiting surrogacy to “altruistic surrogacy” only, it creates space for women being pressured to bear children for family members. The Rajya Sabha standing committee’s report, having heard a wide cross section of society on this matter, has rightly criticised this bill and called for its redrafting.

As regressive legislations go, the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 must surely rank with the worst of them. It is a bill that reinforces every patriarchal and paternalistic notion of what women can and cannot do with their bodies. Far from “regulating” (as the term is properly understood), it is a bill to control women’s bodies and what they choose to do with it.

Introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 21 November 2016 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), it was not exactly received with much praise when it was first made public by the government (Gupta 2016). Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had earlier defended the ban on commercial surrogacy and exclusion of homosexual and transgender persons from having a child through surrogacy in rather spiteful terms (Hindu 2016). Since then, it was referred to a standing committee of the Rajya Sabha, which released its report on 10 August 2017 ripping this bill to shreds (Rajya Sabha 2017).

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 24th Aug, 2017

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

The impact of the appointment process for high court and Supreme Court judges following the recommendations of the collegium is examined. The...

As with most other activities, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the functioning of courts, revealed through the steep drop in the...

By clearing the confusion over the interpretation of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, the Supreme Court in Vineeta Sharma v Rakesh...

National law universities set up by state governments have remained “islands” for too long–elitist and distanced from the local communities in...

India’s management of the COVID-19 global pandemic has been marked by excessive centralisation, lawless lawmaking and non-consultative decision-...

The Supreme Court’s setting aside of the Andhra Pradesh government’s preference scheme for Scheduled Tribes in schools in Scheduled Areas shows up...

The debate about the tenure of judges of the Supreme Court of India is fixated somewhat unnecessarily on the retirement age than the actual time...

The proposal in the Finance Bill, 2020 to introduce taxation on the basis of citizenship for those non-resident Indians who do not pay tax in...

Between 2010 and 2019, the Supreme Court of India has suffered a credibility crisis not seen since the 1970s, with its reputation for independence...

Back to Top