The seventh day of winter session of Parliament began with Rajya Sabha Chairman announcing that the upper House members have contributed over Rs. 38 crore for the Kerala flood relief. Shortly after that the upper House was adjourned for the day amid sloganeering.
The Lok Sabha too, witnessed two adjournments for the same reason. But the lower House managed to pass the surrogacy regulation Bill amid pandemonium.
Here are the live updates
Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan moves the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018.
As AIADMK members chant louder, the Speaker intervenes. "The Cauvery problem cannot be solved like this. You have to talk (with concerned persons)," she says.
She adjourns the House for the day. The Consumer Protection Bill is likely to be taken up tomorrow.
The Bill goes for clause-by-clause voting. The government has moved 27 amendments to the Bill. They are adopted.
Congress members join sloganeering insisting on setting up JPC into Rafale deal. The Congress and AIADMK members didn't take part in the debate on surrogacy regulation Bill.
N.K. Premachandran's amendments are rejected through voice vote.
The ayes and noes are barely audible amid chanting. So members wave their hands to register their vote.
The Bill as amended is passed.
Health Minister J.P. Nadda responds. The sloganeering that took a break until now is back.
He thanks the members who took part in the debate. "We totally reject commercial surrogacy. At the same time, the intention is to save the family," he says. A family means a man and woman legally married, he says responding to members who sought to include same sex couples and live-in couples in the Bill.
The suggestions of Dr. Ghosh on cryoprotection will be deliberated while framing rules and regulations, he assures the House.
Supriya Sule intervenes. She objects to Dr. Nadda's definition of family. The Minister says it should be taken in context with this specific Bill.
Mr. Mahtab intervenes. He says the ministry is delegating legal parts to regulation. Dr. Nadda says that is because it is being taken up for the first time.
N.K. Premachandran says the children born out of surrogacy must be protected from discrimination.
The Bill fails to explain the difference between commercial surrogacy and ethical surrogacy. Otherwise it is a good bill, I support it, he says.
Dharam Vir Gandhi (AAP) says NRIs should be allowed to avail the services of surrogacy in the country. He supports the Bill.
Kaushalendra Kumar (JD-U) says even developed countries have laws to regulate surrogacy. The interests of the surrogate must be protected, he says.
Dr B.N. Goud (TRS) says the Bill is brought in due to morality issues faced in commercial surrogacy. He cities how surrogacy finds mention in epic Mahabharata.
If a "close relative" surrogate mother gets money for her service, whom will use punish, Dr. Goud asks. The intention is good, but the chances of misuse is more. I hope the minister takes precaution while framing guidelines, he says.
Dr. Goud is a gastrointestinal surgeon.
Good Bill, but not modern enough: Supriya Sule
Supriya Sule (NCP) is the next speaker. She requests the Speaker to consider Congress' plea to have JPC probe into Rafale deal.
She suggests the five-year "cooling" period be waived for couples who are able to scientific prove they have fertility problems.
When single parents can adopt children, why not allow surrogacy for them? she asks. It's a good Bill, but it's not modern enough, she says.
Nishikant Dubey, a BJP member says the Bill adheres to the "Indian tradition" and live-in couples and homosexual couples are not part of Indian tradition. He claims even the Supreme Court verdict has only decriminalised homosexuality but hasn't spoken about same sex wedding.
The Bill has adequate provisions to ensure genuine couples do not face any hardship, he claims.
Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) says despite turmoil in the House, we have decided to deliberate a serious matter. The Bill approves only altruistic surrogacy, which means the surrogate mother would not take any monetary compensation.
The Bill doesn't mention anything on appeal process if the authority rejects the plea of a couple to have a child through surrogacy. He also points out the "close relative" who can be a surrogate mother is not defined.
Commercial surrogacy is thriving in India due lack of legislation and regulation, he says.
Mr. Mahtab suggests widening the ambit of surrogacy by including live-in couples, homosexuals, widows and single persons.
Our scriptures have approved surrogacy in many forms. Regulate it but don't commercialise it, he says.
Salient features of the Surrogacy Bill
The surrogacy Bill aims at regulating commissioning of surrogacy in the country in a proper manner.
The Bill aims to prevent exploitation of women, especially those in rural and tribal areas. It promises to ensure parentage of children born out of surrogacy is “legal and transparent.”
The new Bill proposes complete ban on commercial surrogacy. As per the Bill, only legally-wedded Indian couples can have children through surrogacy, provided at least one of them have been proven to have fertility-related issues.
A woman will be allowed to become a surrogate mother only for altruistic purpose and under no circumstances money shall be paid to her, except for medical expenses.
Surrogacy regulation board will be set-up at Central and State-level.
If commercial surrogacy is banned, how else can two male partners have babies, asks Kakoli Ghosh
Kakoli Ghosh (Trinamool Congress) speaks in favour of the Bill. She claims many women were exploited in Gujarat. She compares the process of surrogacy with man landing on moon. Dr. Ghosh, a medical professional, explains the process of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
She suggests the Bill must be amended to include cryopreserve to any number of days. The Bill says 56 days now. She also says we must have a public debate on the Bill. She also suggests the Bill must be brought together with the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill.
There is no mention of same sex couples in the Bill. How else can two male partners have babies, she asks. Unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and homosexuals cannot opt for surrogacy as per the new bill.
Dr. Ghosh also talks in length about infertility and how the field is now almost a monopoly of private clinics. In a society that looks down on women who cannot bear a child, technology must help them, she says.
She accuses certain film stars and celebrities of practising "fashion surrogacy."
Lok Sabha proceedings resume. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asks Jagat Prakash Nadda to move The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016.
"It's an historic day. All parties wanted commercial surrogacy to be stopped," says Mr. Nadda.
As Mr. Nadda speaks, AIADMK members chant slogans in Tamil against the Union government. However, Mr. Nadda continues to speak.
Explaining the need for such a Bill, especially when poor women were exploited to rent their wombs, Mr. Nadda says "keeping the Indian ethos" we have banned commercial surrogacy.
In Zero Hour, MoS Finance, Pon Radhakrishnan raises the issue of pilgrims suffering due to police restriction in Sabarimala.
A video of Mr. Radhakrishnan arguing with a police personnel to allow private vehicles to ferry pilgrims. In the video, the police officer was seen saying only government vehicles will be allowed but the minister can use his vehicle since he is a VIP. Mr. Radhakrishnan later chose to trek the hills by walk and prayed at the shrine.
Mr. Radhakrishnan narrates the incident to the House even as chanting by AIADMK members get louder. Mr. Radhakrishnan is the only BJP member elected from Tamil Nadu.
House is adjourned till 2 pm
Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress) reiterates the demand for a joint parliamentary probe into Rafale deal. He says the Centre has filed an affidavit with false claims.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says the government is ready for a debate. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also agrees. A BJP member says Congress must apologise for making false claims of corruption in the Rafale jet procurement.
A Trinamool Congress member suggests the House can have a discussion on Rafale deal. "We will discuss, if all of you are interested," says Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
AIADMK members continue chant slogans.
Lok Sabha reassembles. Members laying papers on the table of the House listed against their names.
AIADMK members chant slogans in Tamil against the Union government. They claim the central government is neglecting the state of Tamil Nadu.
As Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of Congress Legislature Party in Lok Sabha, rises to submit reports of standing committee, Congress members surround him holding banners seeking JPC probe into Rafale deal.
The chantings grow louder and the speech of ministers are barely audible. The Speaker, however, continues the proceeding.
Rajya Sabha will not function on December 24 and 26 to facilitate members to celebrate Christmas back home, says Chairman Venkaiah Naidu. Let's utilise the time properly, he says taking a jibe at members who didn't allow the Parliament to function for the past six days.
MoS for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel clarifies that he didn't take the name of Rahul Gandhi during his speech on Tuesday and requests the Chair to correct the records. Congress members chant demanding JPC into Rafale deal. Other party members join with their own demands.
"I don't want people to see this. I am adjourning the House till 11 am today," says Mr. Naidu.
Lok Sabha proceedings begin. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is in the Chair. She proceeds with Question Hour despite members chant slogans.
Questions related to development of the northeastern region. Congress members chant slogans demanding JPC probe into Rafale deal. BJP members counter that with demands of apology from Rahul Gandhi.
House is adjourned till 12 noon.
Rajya Sabha proceedings begin. Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair. He informs the House that as many as 93 members have contributed over Rs. 38 crore for the Kerala flood relief and 60 members have donated their one month salary. He thanks the members and requests others to contribute generously. The money will be sent to Kerala government.