Curtains came down on a two-year- long legal battle involving the surrogate twins of a German couple with the Supreme Court being told today that they have been granted visa to leave the country.
Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the vacation Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and C K Prasad that the German government had granted visa to the twins born to a surrogate Indian mother and the Centre has completed all the formalities for ensuring that the couple could return to their country with the babies.
We can only wish them good luck, the Bench observed while complementing the Solicitor General for facilitating the visas to the twins.
The Supreme Court,however,hoped that Parliament would make appropriate legislation to clarify the countrys legal position vis-a-vis the citizenship rights of a surrogate child born to an Indian woman but commissioned by foreign parents.
To this,the Solicitor General submitted that he had already written to the Union government to make appropriate legislation to avoid tricky situations as the present one.
The German couple — John Balaz and his wife — had sought Indian citizenship for the children born in February 2008 through surrogate mother Martha Immanual Khristy on the plea that the twins otherwise would not be allowed entry into Germany which does not recognise surrogacy.
Earlier,the apex court had directed the Central Adoption Resource Agency to consider as a one-time measure the plea of the couple for adoption of the twins on humanitarian grounds.
The Supreme Court had passed the direction after the couple told the Bench that they were willing to go for an inter-country adoption as surrogacy is a punishable offence in their country.
The court had passed the direction after the counsel for the Union government told the bench that under the existing rules,the German couple cannot be granted adoption rights as such a privilege is available only if the children are abandoned by the biological parents.
In the present case,the government said the children were born through a surrogate mother and there was no provision under the law for inter-country adoption for the children. It however,had offered to examine the plea for adoption of the German couple as a special case provided it was not treated as a precedent.
The court,in its earlier direction,had asked the government to examine the offer of the German couple to go for adoption of the kids as surrogacy is a punishable offence in Germany which was not willing to grant the surrogate children any citizenship or visa.
The Centre had rejected the couples plea for grant of citizenship to the children on the ground that the statute does not provide citizenship rights to children born of a surrogate woman.
The couple had claimed that once the twins are accorded Indian citizenship they would be entitled to passports,thus facilitating their entry into Germany. After the passport authorities turned down their plea,the couple had moved the Gujarat High Court.
The High Court had on November 11 directed the Centre to grant citizenship by taking the view that since the twins were born to a surrogate Indian mother they were entitled to the countrys citizenship.
Aggrieved,the Centre filed an appeal in the apex court.
The Centre had taken the stand that under the Citizenship Act,1955,since the commissioning parents were a German couple,the two children cannot be treated as Indian citizens and hence there was no question of granting them passports.
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