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SC contemplates Surrogacy Act: Unmarried women's rights under scrutiny

SC contemplates Surrogacy Act: Unmarried women's rights under scrutiny

The Supreme Court has solicited the response of the Central government on a plea contesting the constitutionality of Section 2(1) (s) of the Surrogacy (Regulations) Act, 2021. This particular provision has stirred controversy as it bars unmarried women from participating as surrogate mothers, limiting eligibility solely to Indian women who are widows or divorcees aged between 35 to 45 years.

The plea, brought forth by a 44-year-old unmarried woman, asserts that the exclusionary clause is not only highly irrational but also discriminatory, violating fundamental rights enshrined under Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The petitioner argues against the notion that motherhood should be confined within the bounds of marriage, emphasizing the evolving landscape of societal norms and the individual's autonomy in making reproductive choices.

During the hearing of the petition, a bench comprising Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih voiced concerns regarding the sanctity of marriage in Indian society. Justice Nagarathna's remarks underscored the traditional perspective that motherhood is typically associated with the institution of marriage, implying skepticism towards deviations from this norm. The bench's stance reflects a conservative outlook, prioritizing the preservation of traditional values surrounding marriage and parenthood.

Furthermore, the petition challenges an amendment notification dated March 14, 2023, pertaining to Form 2 under Rule 7 of the Surrogacy Rules, 2022. This notification mandates single women undergoing surrogacy to utilize their own eggs and donor sperms, a requirement perceived as arbitrary and discriminatory by the petitioner. The plea contends that this notification contradicts Rule 14 of the Surrogacy Rules, 2022, thus highlighting inconsistencies within the regulatory framework governing surrogacy practices in India.

Advocate Shyamalal Kumar, representing the petitioner, contends that such regulations not only infringe upon individual rights but also lack a rational basis, thereby warranting judicial scrutiny. The petitioner's case underscores the need for legal reforms that align with evolving societal dynamics and uphold principles of equality and autonomy in matters of reproduction and parenthood.

Case: Jaswinder Kaur v. Union of India.

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