A Sudan national Monday moved Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) restricting single foreign nationals and unmarried couples from coming to India for purposes of surrogacy on medical visas. The MHA had last year revised the norms allowing only married men and women with a marriage of at least two years to come to India on medical visas for the purpose of surrogacy.
Taking up the petition of Shihabeldin,who desires to be single parent,a division bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul issued notice to the MHA asking it submit its response to the petitioners contentions by September. Advocate Anil Malhotra had moved the petition on behalf of Shihabeldin.
The petitioner,a permanent resident of Republic of Sudan,said in his petition that he wishes to be a single parent through a surrogacy arrangement and hence vide a mail dated June 29 contacted the Indian government and enquired about single foreign parent surrogacy facility in Chandigarh.
However,he was denied the same and was told that surrogacy facility in India could not be availed by a single foreign parent.
He was told that the MHA,vide revised guidelines dated July 9,2012,had restricted surrogacy to married men and women with a marriage of at least two years,there by excluding single foreign nationals and unmarried couples from coming to India for purposes of surrogacy on medical visas.
Dubbing this as violation of Article 21 of Constitution of India (right to life and personal liberty),Advocate Malhotra submitted that surrogacy cannot be denied to single foreign nationals.
Malhotra contended that this unreasonable and unjust classification treats equals unequally thereby violating equality of law and equal protection of laws. He said,Foreign nationals,overseas citizens of India,and person of Indian Origin cannot be discriminated in the matter of surrogacy upon comparison with Indian nationals.
He contended that imposing a ban on surrogacy by foreign single persons or foreign unmarried couples amounts to an unreasonable,unjust and arbitrary classification,which has no nexus with the object sought to be achieved.