Jaipur, Aug 13 : Adding another twist to the already complicated case of the Japanese surrogate baby, 'Manjhi', caught in a legal tussle in India, an NGO has filed a petition to prevent the father from taking custody of the child. The NGO, 'Satya', has filed the petition before the Rajasthan High Court, seeking its intervention in preventing the baby's father from taking her to Japan.
'Manjhi', born from an Indian surrogate mother, is caught in a legal tussle as India's laws prohibit the child's divorced Japanese father (as he is single now) from taking her custody. Soon after her conception, her parents got separated.
The baby's parents Ikufumi Yamada, 45, and his then-wife Yuki Yamada, 41, had come to India a year ago and had hired the services of a surrogate mother in Ahmedabad, but during the pregnancy, the couple got divorced.
Soon after the baby was born, serial bombings took place in Ahmedabad and the baby was shifted to Jaipur, where she is being looked after at the Arya Hospital.
Now the father wants to take custody of the child but Manjhi's future is left in a legal limbo, with only her 70-year-old grandmother to look after her as her father had to leave India with his visa expiring.
Alleging foul play, the NGO feared it could be a case of child smuggling.
"Before the birth of the child both the mother and father, who gave the ovum and sperm, should have been DNA tested and a DNA fingerprint of the child should have been made, which in this case does not seem to have been done," said Abhinav Sharma, counsel for Satya.
"The case needs to be probed because if it becomes a practice then nobody would come forward to adopt a child in India and rich people from abroad will continue coming to the country and indulge in surrogacy. It is misuse of law," said Sanjay Agarwal, the petitioner.
Even as India is fast emerging as a major destination for surrogate pregnancies, such births are largely unregulated.
The surrogacy bill is pending in the Parliament. But, according to existing laws, parents have to adopt their surrogate child and adoption laws make it difficult for single fathers to adopt girls.
Now, the child's fate lies in balance as her grandmother's visa will also expire soon and she will be left in the care of the hospital staff.