New Delhi: A draft bill which aims to safeguard the rights of surrogate mothers and make parentage of such children legal was today cleared by the Union Cabinet. According to the Health Ministry proposal, the draft Surrogacy Bill, 2016 aims at regulating commissioning of surrogacy in the country in a proper manner.
Official sources said the Cabinet gave its green signal to the Bill to be introduced in Parliament. A Group of Ministers (GoM) had recently cleared the bill and had referred it to the Union Cabinet for a final call.
The GoM was constituted at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office. Apart from Health Minister J P Nadda, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal were among those part of the GoM.
The government had recently admitted 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.
The bill was to be taken up by the Union Cabinet on April 27, but it was dropped from the agenda at the last moment. 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, the sources said.
The government had recently said in Parliament that provisions are being made in the draft Bill to make parentage of children born out of surrogacy “legal and transparent”.