In a column in the newspaper Indian Express, Congress MP and ex-Law Minister Kapil Sibal has come down heavily on the proposed Surrogacy Bill of the NDA governement, calling it discriminatory and biased.
Refering to the bill as exclusionary and highly controversial, Mr. Sibal writes, “First, it focuses exclusively on surrogacy at the cost of ignoring the regulation of other assistive reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilisation, sperm donation, etc. Two, it raises some serious questions about the Government of India’s commitment to protect and promote the constitutional, reproductive and human rights of Indian citizens.”
He also says that by restricting surrogacy to heterosexual couples married for 5 years or more, the bill was violating Article 14 of the Constitution, which assures every Indian citizen “equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” “By defining limiting eligibility criteria, the Central government is seeking to deny a host of perfectly suitable individuals who are well within their rights to demand access to surrogacy services. This is certainly a direct contravention of the spirit of our constitution,” he writes.
People irrespective of their marital status and sexual orientation have reproductive rights, which the bill fails to protect, he writes. Mr. Sibal also says that the bill violates fundamental human rights. He writes that while women need to be protected from exploitation, the government “should also be empathetic to individuals with alternative lifestyles”.