Delhi HC refuses to entertain PIL for population control in India

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New Delhi | Updated: Sep 03, 2019 5:36 PM

The Delhi High Court Tuesday refused to entertain a PIL which sought implementation of certain steps, including two-child norm, to control the country's rising population on the ground that it was the root cause of rise in crimes, pollution and dearth of resources and jobs.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said it is for Parliament and state legislatures to enact the law and not for this court

The Delhi High Court Tuesday refused to entertain a PIL which sought implementation of certain steps, including two-child norm, to control the country’s rising population on the ground that it was the root cause of rise in crimes, pollution and dearth of resources and jobs. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said it is for Parliament and state legislatures to enact the law and not for this court. It said the primary work of the court is to interpret the law, not to direct or suggest enactment of law.

It said both Parliament and state legislatures have developed enough mechanisms to enact a law and they have set up commissions for giving recommendations on this subject. “It is left open for them to enact the law as per the priority of the Parliament and the state legislature,” the bench said. The court disposed of the petition by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who is also a lawyer, saying “we find no reason to entertain” it.

Regarding the prayer for implementation of the recommendations for population control made by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC), headed by Justice Venkatchaliah, the bench said that it was within the domain of the government. “Law is nothing but desire of people and the desire of people is concentrate at the Parliament and the state legislature,” it said. The bench rejected the prayer for declaring that the Centre “may set two-child norm, as a criteria for government jobs, aids and subsidies, and, may withdraw statutory rights viz. right to vote, right to contest, right to property, right to free shelter, right to free legal aid”, for not complying with it.

“We see no reason to direct the Parliament or the state legislature to enact two-child law. As and when such law is enacted, the work of the court will start from there to see its proper implementation,” it said. The bench added that “it ought to be kept in mind that if such petitions are allowed, this court will have to do work of several departments of the government. The primary function of the court is to interpret the law as it is. Enactment of law is a rare phenomena and for this there are set norms”.

Central government standing counsel Ajay Digpaul said that in the Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has talked about the increase in population of the country and he had also urged the nation to understand the importance of birth control. “The NCRWC, after making immense efforts for two years and elaborate discussion, had suggested addition of Article 47A in the Constitution and formulation of Population Control Law,” the petition had said.

“Till now the Constitution has been amended 125 times, hundreds of new laws have been enacted, but population control law, utterly required for country, is not made, though it will curtail more than 50 per cent problems of India,” it said. The plea claimed that the population of India has “marched ahead” of China, as about 20 per cent the population does not have Aadhaar and therefore, is not accounted for, and there are also crores of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis living illegally in the country.

The petitioner had claimed that “population explosion is also the root cause of corruption”, apart from being a contributory factor behind heinous crimes like rapes and domestic violence. He argued further that without population control, campaigns like Clean India and Save the Girl Child would not succeed. He said that by the time the government provides housing to the over two crore homeless persons, the numbers of such individuals would have risen to 10 crore.

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