Updated: October 10, 2014 1:28:00 pm
An Australian judge on Thursday said a couple from Australia rejected a child born to an Indian surrogate mother because of the baby’s gender and took home only its twin sibling. The case dates back to 2012 and surfaced during a joint probe in Australia by ABC and Foreign Correspondent.
Australian family judge Diana Bryant said she was told by the Australian high commission in New Delhi that the couple’s decision to leave the baby was “based on its gender”. Sources at the Australian high commission here told The Indian Express that the couple took the girl child and left the boy behind as the couple already has a son.
The judge said the high commission delayed giving the parents an Australian visa for the child they wanted in an attempt to persuade them to take both the babies. This act, Bryant said, was in “no way inappropriate”.
“In fact, they were doing their best to deal with a significant moral dilemma — there simply was no legal authority requiring the commissioning couple to take both children,” she said.
The judge has also stated that the couple’s “friend” sought the custody of the sibling but that the Australian mission officials doubted the person was a friend and suspected “oney had changed hands”.
Later in the day, in an official statement, Australia’s department of foreign affairs and trade said the high commission’s role had been limited to assessing the parents’ application for citizenship and a passport for the chosen twin. “The parents in this case decided to apply for citizenship for only one of the twins… (we) had no grounds to refuse the citizenship application and a passport for the one twin for whom application was made as the child met the criteria for citizenship and an Australian passport.
“As the parents decided to apply for citizenship for only one child and consequently the other child was not granted Australian citizenship, India became responsible for the welfare of the other child and adoption arrangements became a matter for its legal system,’’ the department said in the statement.
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