New Delhi, Aug 20 : The Supreme Court today extended the interim custody of 20-day-old surrogate baby Manjhi granted to her Japanese grandmother Yamada till September 16.
A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Mukundakam Sharma granted two weeks time to NGO, "Satya", to explain its locus standi for seeking custody of the child.
The NGO had sought custody of the child on the ground that Manji was an abandoned child and Yamada had no right over her.
''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.
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.