Govt to persuade Germany for ‘1-time visa’ for surrogate kids

Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanium on Thursday said the government would try to persuade Germany to facilitate a "one-time visa" to children born of a German couple through surrogacy in India, to allow them to leave the country.

"Considering what is best for the children, we will consult the Ministry of External Affairs and see what can be done for the respondent (father Jan Balaz) so that he may take the children to Germany to pursue paternity proceedings," the Solicitor General told the Supreme Court.

However, he clarified that this was being done "only for the sake of the children" and that Balaz was responsible for "starting all this mess". He opposed granting citizenship to the twins as Indian laws do not permit the same. Subramanium also demanded that Balaz first give an "unconditional undertaking" that he will abide by any order of the Supreme Court and does not "disappear from the scale of jurisdiction" of the Indian judiciary once he leaves the country.

The top government lawyer's submissions, however, did not allay the Supreme Court's apprehensions about the fate of two-year-old Nikolas and Leonard, in case Balaz's attempts to get them into Germany fail. German laws do not recognise surrogacy as a means of parenthood.

Balaz and wife Susan Lohle, who is currently in Germany, had the twins through surrogacy in February 2008. They were delivered by Martha Immanual Khristy, an Indian who acted as 'surrogate mother' at Anand district in Gujarat. They are currently staying with Balaz in Jaipur.

Appearing for Balaz, senior advocate K Nageshwar Rao said his client, a freelance photographer, has spent two years in India fighting for the children and is almost left without any sustenance. His visa is due to expire on January 8, 2010. "The fact that he (Balaz) is sitting without a job for nearly two years to ensure the best development of the children, in spite of all odds of language, culture, food, money, etc, by itself is an overwhelming proof that he is doing everything possible under the sun to raise them well," the affidavit filed on Balaz's behalf before the court says.

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