Jaipur, Oct 11: At last, there is a little hope emerging for the Indo-Japanese baby Manjhi... An identity certificate by the regional passport office can make life easier for both Manji and her grandmother to fly to Japan.
"Manji's grand mother Imiko Yamada, in whose custody the child is living in India since her birth, will file an application on Monday on behalf of the infant in this regard. An effort to do so was made on Friday but the passport officer was on leave," said Kamal Vijayvargiya, a friend of Manji's father Ikufumi Yamada. An identity certificate is issued under Indian Passport Act, 1967, to persons who have lost their passports or are deported or are to be sent to their parent country on the condition of urgency or mercy.
R K Raja Pillai, deputy secretary and counsellor in the external affairs ministry, told sources from Delhi that Imiko met her last week with a copy of the Supreme Court's judgement and sought the ministry's help in obtaining the certificate. She was advised to file an application at Jaipur in person on Manji's behalf.
Manjhi, born from an Indian surrogate mother, is caught in a legal tussle. India's laws prohibit the child's divorced Japanese father from taking custody of her.
Manjhi's future is left in uncertainty. Her parents came to India a year ago and had hired the services of a surrogate mother in Ahmedabad, but during the pregnancy, the couple divorced.
The father now wants to take custody of the child, but he had to leave India after his visa expired.
Even as India is fast emerging as a major destination for surrogate pregnancies, such births are largely unregulated.
The Surrogacy Bill is pending in parliament, but according to governing laws, parents have to adopt their surrogate child and adoption laws make it difficult for single fathers to adopt girls.