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The petitioner, Farooq Siddiqui, based his case on a claim that the woman, Farzana Naheed, was not his wife. He claimed that since he and his wife were childless, they had opted for artificial insemination. Naheed, the ‘biological mother’, was a “surrogate who had agreed not to claim custody of the child”, Siddiqui said.
However, the civil judge, Ijaz Ali, dismissed the petition and granted custody to Naheed. The judge said he had concluded that Naheed was the real mother as she had contracted marriage to Siddiqui, adding that it would be wrong to rob the baby of her mother’s love and care.
By the time the case reached the court, the couple had divorced, the judge said.
The issue became a legal matter when the infant was handed over to Naheed after she filed a habeas corpus petition with a district and session judge. After that Siddiqui approached the family court with a plea for Fatima’s custody, contending that Naheed had agreed to transfer the child’s custody to him after getting a divorce and receiving money under the agreement.
She moved the habeas corpus petition after the divorce.
Siddiqui stated in his petition that since his wife Yasmin had paid money to Naheed to have the child, the latter could not be treated as Fatima’s ‘real mother’.
According to him, he wanted custody of the baby as he was a man of means whereas Naheed was too poor to even pay for her medical expenses. He said Naheed was selected after medical examinations in 2004 and after obtaining her consent to act as a surrogate mother as he and his wife were unable to produce a child owing to medical complications.
He said he got advertisements published for women willing to be surrogate mothers. Naheed replied to the advertisement and approached him, along with her relatives, and agreed to act as surrogate in exchange for money.
However, Siddiqui alleged, during pregnancy Naheed and her relatives started blackmailing him for more money on one pretext or another. This led to the legal battles.