Banning commercial surrogacy in India, the Cabinet on Wednesday approved the draft Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 that aims to safeguard the rights of surrogate mothers.
According to the Bill all others except legally married Indian couples who otherwise would not be able to produce a child will be barred from opting Surrogacy.
The bill has a provision for a jail term up to 10 years and a fine of Rs 10 lakh for violations, such as abandoning the child and opting for commercial surrogacy.
As India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries, the government has framed the draft Bill.
"The new Bill proposes complete ban on commercial surrogacy. What had started in the name of necessity has become a fashion. Several celebrities have opted for surrogacy and it has become a trend. We have several examples of big celebrities who have their own children, two children a boy and a girl, still they have gone for a surrogate child live in relations," said Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs.
To prevent exploitation of women, especially those in rural and tribal areas, the government has prohibited foreigners from commissioning surrogacy in the country and has drafted this comprehensive legislation.
"As far as homosexual relations and live in couples are concerned, such relations have no legal sanctity. Such people, including single parents, can go for adoption," said Swaraj.
There have been reported incidents concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and rackets of intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes.
The government recently realised that in the absence of a statutory mechanism to control commissioning of surrogacy at present, there have been cases of pregnancies by way of surrogacy, including in rural and tribal areas, leading to possible exploitation of women by unscrupulous elements.