Manjhi, who was born to a surrogate mother in Jaipur, is not an abandoned baby, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday.
The proceedings on Manjhi's petition requesting the court to permit her to leave India alongwith her grandmother for Japan witnessed heated arguments between the judges and NGO, Satya.
Snubbing the NGO, which moved the Rajasthan High Court to restrain Manjhi leaving the country, a bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat said surrogacy was not prohibited in the country.
Asking the NGO to explain its locus standi in the case, Justice Pasayat said: “How can you say that the baby is abandoned. Her father's name is specifically mentioned in her birth certificate.”
The NGO's advocate, who refused to bow down to the court's view, rebutted the arguments. "The Indian government does not allow surrogacy," the counsel said. He justified the NGO's plea before the Rajasthan HC.
“We have done it under the Protection of Child Act for the child's welfare. The child is abandoned. Under which law did the Japanese couple come to India for giving birth to a child through a surrogate mother," the advocate questioned the court in reply to the latter's query on its locus standi.
The NGO also challenged the birth certificate issued in Manjhi's name. Its advocate said birth certificate could not be a reliable document to ascertain the child's father.
“One can add anybody's name to declare the child's father or mother. This petition is moved by Manjhi, As per rules the petitioner is required to disclose the father's name and residential address. The details are, however, missing in this petition, which is still being entertained " the advocate added.