December 1, 2021
Pratima Mondal speaks on The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020
Madam, I rise to speak on the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2020. Madam, I got an opportunity to hear an excellent debate especially from you and all other honorable Members on this Important Bill. So for me today is the first day of Winter Session. I have a very small query and I would like to ask the honorable Minister to clarify the norms set for the eligibility to avail the facility of ART. According to clause 2G, commissioning couple meaning an infertile married couple, and clause 2A, stating woman, meaning any woman above the legal age of marriage, are eligible to avail ART route of reproduction. So this means unmarried women have an option to become mothers, right? So it is a very welcoming small step in the right direction. But it is contradictory to the provision in the Surrogacy Bill passed by Lok Sabha. The Surrogacy Bill allows only infertile couples to opt for the method of Surrogacy which itself is a form of Assisted Reproductive Technology. So on one hand, single women are allowed to bear a child through IVF or ICSI but if the intending mother is infertile, she cannot consider surrogacy as an option.
So, what kind of law is this where one law is contradicting the other, though being absolutely related. So I would like to request the honourable minister to clarify the same, and honourable minister sir, I would like to request (you) to look into this matter that government must ensure that no discrimination should be made in ART clinics against unmarried women seeking to be mothers through ART. There must be a provision which specially mentions that discrimination against unmarried women is a punishable offence, and all the other members have already spoken about the single men wanting to be fathers and LGBTQ community. This is absolutely unconstitutional, and the rights of individuals wanting to be parents are curbed.
Sir, I would also like the minister to kindly elaborate on section 35(1) of chapter 5 that states, “No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this act, save on a complaint made by the national board or the state board or by an officer authorized by it.” Does this mean that any aggrieved couple or individual cannot approach the judiciary directly? Do they have to register a complaint to the boards or offices – if so, then it is making the situation even more difficult. So, this is absolutely unacceptable and is a burden on already suffering people. So, I sincerely hope that the honorable minister (will) kindly acknowledge these issues and explain the ambiguity.
I would like to conclude by repeating that the bill is extremely important but the provisions are not up to the mark. So, this must be amended.
Thank you madam.