Bills and Acts in Current Affairs 2017

Apex court refuses to interfere with policy on FDI in retail

Asserting that Policy making is exclusive right of the executive, the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the policy on FDI in retail.

The Centre informed the court that Reserve Bank of India had notified the amendments to the regulations permitting foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.

Amendments in the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person, Resident outside India) Regulations, 2000, allow foreign direct investment in retail sector. It permits 100% FDI in single-brand product retail and 51% in multi-brand retail. The amended rules have been published in the Gazette of India on October 30

What petitioner said in its plea?

The petitioner had challenged the notification saying that the amendments would have to be placed before Parliament for its approval as per Sections 47 and 48 of the FEMA. He assumes that the Centre might not place it before the Houses.

The Centre had already issued about 50 FDI licences, and before getting parliamentary approval, it might issue more, and they could not be undone even if Parliament rejected the amendments. The petitioner told the court that if amendments paving the way for multi-brand FDI in retail sector were rejected by parliament, then this rejection would not erase the licences issued in pursuance of this amendment.

He urged the court to declare the last part of Section 48 of the FEMA, 1999, "as unconstitutional" and declare it as excess delegation of legislative powers.

What does Section 48 of FEMA say?

Section 48 of FEMA says “Every rule and every regulation made under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each house of parliament, while in session…that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule and regulation."

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“Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill”: To regulate infertility clinics

Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill which is aimed at regulating the functioning infertility clinics in the country is awaiting approval of the Union Cabinet and Parliament.

The Bill seeks to allow surrogate parenthood, which was not yet permitted in many Western countries. Around 15 % of the couples in the world were childless and the problem was similar in the country but underestimated.

What is Surrogate Parenthood?

Some terms related to Surrogate Parenthood:

Surrogacy: An imagearrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. Thus, Surrogate parenting is an arrangement in which one or more persons, typically a married infertile couple (the intended rearing parents), contract with a woman to gestate a child for them and then to relinquish it to them after birth. Surrogate parenting is also sometimes referred to as “Contract Pregnancy”.

Surrogate Mother: The woman who carries and delivers a child for another couple or person.

Traditional Surrogacy: If the surrogate mother is the child’s genetic mother then it is called traditional surrogacy. In a traditional surrogacy, the child may be conceived via home artificial insemination using fresh or frozen sperm or impregnated via IUI (intrauterine insemination), or ICI (intracervical insemination) performed at a health clinic.

Gestational Surrogacy: If the surrogate mother is genetically unrelated to the child then this is called gestational surrogacy. A gestational surrogacy requires the transfer of a previously created embryo, and for this reason the process always takes place in a clinical setting.

Commercial Surrogacy: If the surrogate receives compensation beyond the reimbursement of medical and other reasonable expenses, the arrangement is called commercial surrogacy. Commercial surrogate parenting arrangements involve monetary payments both to the surrogate and to other third parties.

Noncommercial or Altruistic Surrogacy: Non-commercial surrogacy involves an arrangement where the intended rearing parents use the services of a family member or a friend. The surrogate’s compensation supposedly consists in the satisfaction she derives from giving the gift of a new human life to people for whom she personally cares.

Who is the real mother of the child?

The surrogate parent is not considered to be the child’s mother.  Rather, the other person or couple is intended to be the legal parents of the child born to the surrogate parent.

What is the difference between Surrogate Parenting and Adoption?

  • In a domestic adoption, the birth mother usually has an unexpected pregnancy and thus usually selects an unrelated family to adopt her child. 
  • In a surrogacy, however all things are planned in advance of the pregnancy, and the child usually has a biological relationship to the intended family.  Also, the financial and legal issues are also very different in surrogate parenthood.

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