Hon’ble Home Minister
Government of India, New Delhi
Through: Secretary-Ministry of Home Affairs
Subject: Two-child Law to control population explosion
Report of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (Justice Venkatchaliah Commission) noted with concern that proper planning and monitoring of the socio-economic development of the country is considerably hampered and neutralized by the exponential growth of population. The Commission recommended that an Article should be added as Directive Principles of State Policy after Article 47 of the Constitution of India as thus: Article 47A - Control of Population: “The State shall endeavour to secure control of population by means of education and implementation of small family norms.”
In Javed versus State of Harayana [AIR 2003 SC 3057: (2003) 8 SCC 369], Hon’ble Supreme Court has said that Fundamental rights are not to be read in isolation. They have to be read along with Directive Principles of State Policy and the Fundamental Duties enshrined in the Article 51A. None of the lofty ideals envisaged under the Article 38 to 47 can be achieved without controlling the population inasmuch as the material resources are limited and claimants are many. The problem of population explosion is a national and global issue for which priority in policy-oriented legislation, wherever needed, is necessary. Legislative measures to check the menace of growing population is valid. A provision that a person who has more than two children is not qualified to hold office in a local authority was, therefore, held to be valid.
In 1952, India was the first country in the world to launch a national program, emphasizing family planning to the extent necessary for reducing birth rates to stabilize the population at a level consistent with the requirement of national economy. However, after 1952, a similar drop in birth rates did not accompany sharp declines in death rates. National Health Policy 1983 stated that replacement levels of Total Fertility Rate (TFR) should be achieved by the 2000. India was projected to have 01 billion people in 2000, that is 16% of the world’s population on 2.4% of the globe’s land area. If current trends continue, India may overtake China in 2045, to become the most populous country in the world. While global population has increased threefold during the previous century, from 02 billion to 06 billion, the population of India has increased nearly 05 times from 238 million to 1.1 billion. India’s current annual increase in population of 15.5 million is large enough to neutralize efforts to conserve the resource and endowment and environment.
Stabilizing population is an essential requirement for promoting sustainable development with more equitable distribution. However, it is as much function of making reproductive healthcare accessible and affordable for all, as of increasing the provision and outreach of primary and secondary education, extending basic amenities including sanitation, safe drinking water and housing, besides empowering women and enhancing their employment opportunities, and providing transport and communication. National Population Policy (NPP-2000) affirms the commitment of Government towards voluntary and informed choice and consent of citizens while availing of reproductive healthcare services, and continuation of the target free approach in administering family planning services but unfortunately, it was not implemented in letter and spirit. NPP-2000 provided a Policy Frame Work for advancing goals and prioritizing strategies for the decade, to meet the reproductive and child health needs of the people of India, and to achieve net replacement levels (TFR) by 2010. It was based upon the need to simultaneously address issues of child survival, maternal health, and contraception, while increasing outreach and coverage of a comprehensive package of reproductive and child health services by government, industry, and the voluntary non-government sector, working in partnership.
The immediate objective of NPP-2000 was to address the unmet needs for contraception, healthcare infrastructure and health personnel, and to provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child healthcare. The medium-term objective was to bring the TFR to replacement level by 2010 through hearty implementation of inter-sectoral operational strategies. The long-term objective was to achieve a stable population by 2045, at a level consistent with the requirements of sustainable economic growth, social development and environmental production. Population, pollution and poverty is inter-connected with each other and it has become a major challenge for our Country. Root cause of the population explosion is illiteracy and negligence but it is controllable. ‘Polio Day’ was started throughout the country to educate and sensitize the people about its ill effect and Polio vaccination is given to children free of cost every month and now India is free from Polio. Similar strategy can be adopted for controlling menace of population explosion. Government should declare the ‘First Sunday’ of every month as ‘Health Day’ instead of ‘Polio Day’ and provide contraceptive pills, condoms and vaccines free of cost to EWS and BPL facilities in addition to polio vaccines to all the children. Government should also implement Justice Venkatchaliah recommendations in this regard religiously.
Hon’ble Supreme Court has reiterated that ultimate goal of the Legislature, Executive, Judiciary and the Constitution is ‘Welfare of the People’. The Constitution is organic in nature. Being a living organ, it is ongoing. Hence, with the passage of time, Law must be changed. The Constitution is intended to serve needs of the day when it was enacted and also to meet the needs of changing conditions in new circumstances. In that sense, the words and expressions used in the Constitution have no fixed meaning and must receive an interpretation based on experience of the people in the course of the working of the Constitution. This principle may not apply to Statutes. The Constitution is a permanent document framed by the People and accepted by the People to govern them for all times to come. It is a constitutive document fundamental to governance of the country, whereby, according to accepted political theory, the ‘People of India’ have provided the Constitutional polity consisting of certain primary organs, institutions and functionaries to exercise the powers provided in the Constitution of India. All powers belong to the People and they entrust these powers in specified institutions and functionaries with the intention of working out, maintaining and operating the Constitutional order. It is duty of the Union to implement NCRWC recommendation on population control.
Right to health is an integral part of right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. It includes protection, prevention, cure and improvement of health and is a minimum requirement to enable a person to live with human dignity. State has a constitutional obligation to provide health facilities to all the citizens, especially to EWS and BPL families. In a Welfare State, it is obligation of the State to ensure the creation and sustaining of conditions congenial to good health. Article 21 read with Article 39 and 47, casts the duty on the State to take appropriate steps to improve health of the citizens and provide necessary information instruction and infrastructure in this regard. Every branch of the Executive has the constitutional obligation to extend his services with due expertise for protecting the health. The Apex Court has reiterated that in an organized society, right to live as a human being is not insured by meeting only the animal needs of man but it is secured only when he is assured of all facilities to develop himself and is free from restrictions, which inhibit the growth. All human beings are designed to achieve this object. Applicant states that right to health guaranteed under the Article 21 cannot be secured without controlling the menace of population explosion and without implementing the NCRWC recommendation on population control.
For the reasons stated above, I request you to:
Take appropriate steps to implement the recommendation of National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) on population control;
Take appropriate steps to declare ‘First Sunday’ of every month as ‘Health Day’ instead of ‘Polio Day’ and provide condoms, vaccines and contraceptive pills to EWS and BPL families in addition to Polio vaccine and to educate the citizens about ill-effects of population explosion;
Make the Two-Child norm, a mandatory criteria for contesting the election, forming the political party, applying for government jobs and for receiving the government aids and subsidies.
Thanks and Regards
Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay
Office: 15, New Lawyers Chambers
Supreme Court, New Delhi-110001
Residence: G-284, Govindpuram, Ghaziabad-201013
Hon’ble Prime Minister
Government of India, New Delhi-110011
Through: Principle Secretary to the Prime Minister
Hon’ble Law Minister
Government of India, New Delhi-110001
Through: Secretary – Ministry of Law and Justice