The Supreme Court has allowed a plea to make the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare a party to a public interest litigation that has sought certain steps, including two-child norm, to control the country’s growing population.
A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna passed the directions on May 7 on the plea filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay who had sought impleadment of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in place of the Ministry of Home Affairs in his plea.
“This application for impleadment of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in place of Ministry of Home Affairs is allowed, subject to all just exceptions,” the bench said, while listing the matter for further hearing on July 5.
Mr Upadhyay had filed the public interest litigation challenging a Delhi High Court order that dismissed a plea seeking certain steps, including two-child norm, to control the country’s growing population.
The Centre has earlier told the court that India was unequivocally against forcing family planning on its people and any coercion to have a certain number of children was counter-productive and leads to demographic distortions.
In an affidavit filed in the top court, the Centre had told the court that the family welfare programme in the country was voluntary in nature, which enabled couples to decide the size of their family and adopt family planning methods best suited to them, according to their choice and without any compulsion.
The plea said the high court failed to appreciate that the right to clean air, drinking water, health, peaceful sleep, shelter, livelihood, and education guaranteed under Articles 21 and 21A of the Constitution could not be secured to all citizens without controlling the population explosion.
The plea in the high court had claimed that the population of India had “marched ahead” of China, as about 20 per cent of Indians did not have Aadhaar and therefore, were not accounted for, and there were also crores of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis living illegally in the country.
It claimed that “population explosion was also the root cause of corruption”, apart from being a contributory factor behind heinous crimes like rape and domestic violence.
It also held population explosion responsible for pollution and the dearth of resources and jobs.