Govt to Delhi High Court: Surrogacy laws enacted to prevent misuse

The Centre has opposed a petition challenging the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021 and the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, informing the Delhi HC that the Acts were enacted to restrict commercialisation of embryos and newborn.

In an affidavit, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said the two Acts were passed by the Parliament “after receiving comments from all the stakeholders” and following “due prescribed procedure as per law”.

Seeking dismissal of the petition, it said the challenged provisions regulate the procedure of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy, which, if diluted, would defeat the whole purpose.

“Both the Acts are enacted so that procedures followed in ART and surrogacy can be regulated in an appropriate manner as per rules and regulations with an intention to restrict the commercialisation of embryos/ gametes/ new-born child etc,” the ministry stated, arguing that there is no violation of fundamental rights.

The plea has been filed by an unmarried man and a married woman (who has a child), both of whom have argued that commercial surrogacy is the only option available to them, which is prohibited under the two Acts.

The petitioners have said the two Acts exclude them from the benefit of surrogacy as a “reproductive choice” as well as the requirement of the exercise being an altruistic surrogacy only. This exclusion, they claimed, is against Article 14 (right to quality) and Article 21( right to life) of the Constitution.

The matter will now be taken up on November 29.

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