Surrogate twins all set to fly to Germany, finally


NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that German government has granted visa to the twins of the German couple born to the surrogate Indian mother. The apex court, however, hoped that the Parliament would make appropriate legislation to clarify the country’s legal position on the citizenship issue of those born from the womb of an Indian mother, but commissioned by the foreign parents. Solicitor general Gopal Subramanium, on behalf of the Centre, informed a vacation bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and C K Prasad that the German government has granted visa to the twins born to a surrogate Indian mother. The Centre has completed all the formalities to ensure that the couple could return to their country with the babies, said Mr Subramanium. “We can only wish them good luck,” the court remarked while complementing the solicitor general for facilitating visas for the twins. The court also hoped that Indian Parliament would make appropriate legislation to clarify the country’s 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 said he had already written to the Union government for making appropriate legislation to avoid tricky situations such 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 court had passed the direction after the couple said that they were willing to go for an inter-country adoption as surrogacy is a punishable offence in their country. It 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 couple’s 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 country’s 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.

German surrogate twins: Can adoption be a way out, court asks

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) The twins of a German couple born to an Indian surrogate mother may have a chance to go to Germany – if the couple decides to adopt them. The Supreme Court asked the couple if they would consider adopting the two-year-olds as Germany does not recognise surrogate motherhood. The apex court Monday asked Jan Balaaz and his wife if they would consider adopting the children after Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court that Germany does not recognise surrogate motherhood, but allows international adoption of children by its citizens.

Subramanium told the bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Asok Ganguly that in the given scenario, the German couple may consider adopting the twins.He gave the information during hearing of a lawsuit by the government challenging the Gujarat High Court ruling which had directed the government to give Indian passport to the twins born to Jan Balaaz and his wife through a surrogate Indian mother.

The apex court has asked the couple to take their decision and apprise it within two days. The apex court on Jan 4 asked the central government to try to settle the tangled issue of citizenship of the twins through diplomatic channels. The children were born to Gujarati surrogate mother Marthaben. The government is opposed to grant an Indian passport to the twins on the ground that it would mean granting them Indian citizenship. The Gujarat High Court in its order on a lawsuit by the German couple ordered passports for the twins born in January 2008.

The couple came to India in December 2006 in search of a surrogate mother and entered into an agreement with Marthaben, according to which she lost her right over the child after delivery.On the plea of the German couple last month, the apex court asked the government to provide travel documents to the twins within 48 hours, while asking them to approach the German embassy for visa to the twins.