The Lok Sabha has passed two legislations, one to regulate surrogacy and the other is to provide rights to transgenders in the country.
- The Union Health Minister has introduced the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha.
- The Bill seeks to ban commercial surrogacy in the country, plans to regulate the process of surrogacy and provide the right to the children born out of surrogacy.
- There are an estimated 3000-4000 illegal commercial surrogacy clinics in the country. Cases were the abandonment of child born out of surrogacy have come out leading the government to bring in the legislation to regulate surrogacy.
- Surrogacy, as per the Bill is the practice where a woman willingly gives birth to a child for eligible couple and hands over the child after birth.
- The Bill bans commercial surrogacy and regulates altruistic surrogacy.
- In an altruistic surrogacy, monetary benefits are in the form of medical expenses and insurance coverage for the surrogate mother.
- As per the Bill, only Indian couples who have been legally married for five years are allowed for surrogacy. The age of the couples should be between 23-50 years for male and 26-55 years for female.
- The surrogate must be a close relative to the infertile couple.
- National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities will be formed to regulate surrogacy.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019
- The Bill seeks to provide economic, social and educational rights for transgender persons across the country. It will benefit over 4 lakhs of transgender persons.
- The Bill defines a transgender person as those whose gender does not match with that assigned at birth and include trans-man and trans-woman (irrespective of the person undergoing any sex-change surgeries), a person with inter-sex variations, those who have been cultural identities as Hijra, Kinner, jogta and aravani, and also gender-queer person.
- The bill allows the person to choose the gender.
- They have to first get certified as transperson by going through a district screening committee and district magistrate.
- Aa per the Bill, a national authority for safeguarding rights of transgenders will be established.
- There are provisions for penalty and punishment for cases of sexual harassment and offences against transgenders.
- A contentious provision of criminalising begging by transgender people has been removed from the Bill.
The Transgender Bill is the much-needed one to bring them into the mainstream. They are one of the most disadvantageous communities in the country. Only a few states in the country have given certain rights for transgender persons to lead a normal life. Otherwise, they are mostly seen begging. The Bill will provide them the right to lead a better life.