Couple strikes Gujarat excessive courtroom for 2-day-old little one’s custody | Newest Information India
: An infant in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad district was on Thursday caught up in a custody battle within 48 hours of being born to a surrogate mother who is facing serious criminal charges, including that of child trafficking.
The petitioners, who claim to be the genetic parents of the girl by way of “surrogacy agreement”, approached the Gujarat high court on Thursday seeking custody of the child from the birth mother, who is behind bars at Sabarmati Jail in connection with a criminal case. HT has reviewed a copy of the petition.
The court issued notice to the police authority directing them to remain present with the corpus (newborn child) on Friday (June 24), the next date of hearing.
The petitioners, a married couple hailing from Rajasthan, alleged that the police and hospital authorities refused to give them the custody of the child although the birth mother, a resident of Ahmedabad, had entered into an agreement with them for handing over the child immediately after birth.
The child was born on June 21 midnight at a government hospital in Ahmedabad. The petitioners have made Sabarmati jail official, Ahmedabad civil hospital official, Gujarat government, Gomtipur police inspector and the surrogate mother as respondents in the case.
“It is absolutely unfortunate that the newborn baby is getting punishment for no fault of hers and even though she is the child of the petitioners, they are being deprived of her legal custody for no valid reasons by the respondent authorities,” the petition stated.
In their plea, the petitioners have also stated that if the child were to be taken to Sabarmati jail with the birth mother and even if the authorities are in a position to take appropriate care in a special ward, it will affect the “mental well- being of the child” and would be in “contradiction of the welfare of a child”.
Closer to the due date of the girl child, the petitioners came to know that the birth mother was implicated in serious criminal offenses allegedly committed on February 18 this year and registered with Gomtipur police station, Ahmedabad, the petition stated.
“The offenses are punishable under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 363 (kidnapping) and 370 (buying or disposing any person as a slave),” the petition stated. “The surrogate mother is also facing charges under sections 81 (sale and procurement of children for any purpose), 84 (kidnapping and abduction of child) and 87 (abetment) of the Juvenile Justice Act.”
Officials at a private hospital who were roped in by the couple for surrogacy-related consultation were told by the civil hospital officials that unless they got a court order of the custody of the child would not be given to them, the petition stated.
The matter was first mentioned on Thursday before the high court’s chief justice, who allowed the urgent circulation. Upon hearing the matter, the bench found it to be a subject of habeas corpus and shifted the petition before another bench headed by justice Vipul M Pancholi.
The advocate for the petitioners argued in the court that her clients have already entered into the legal and valid surrogacy agreement dated December 27, 2021 and “therefore neither the present petitioners nor the newly born baby are at fault for which both of them are parted by the respondent authorities for no valid and legal reason”.
The government lawyer, however, argued that the “birth mother should breast feed the child for at least six to eight months and that no such agreements may stand legal scrutiny”.
During the afternoon session, Justice Pancholi issued notice to the police authority directing them to remain present with the corpus (newborn child) on Friday when the next hearing is fixed.
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