State Cannot Look Other Way Around With Rising Unemployment, Poverty & Food Shortage: PIL In Supreme Court Seeks Population Control
In the matter of Dandi Swami Jeetendranand Saraswati v. Union of India, petitioner has approached the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Central Government to take effective steps to control population in view of the 24th recommendation of National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (Justice Venkatchaliah Commission).
“The petitioner has realized that the basic fundamental right like right to live with human dignity, Right to clean air, right to drinking water, right to health, right to shelter, right to livelihood and right to education guaranteed under the Constitution will remain elusive unless the Respondents give due consideration to the proposals made by the National Commission to Review the working of the Constitution (NCRWC) to mitigate the problem of over-population”, the plea states.
Statistics have been put forth from several international evaluation standards, emphasizing on India’s ‘pitiable’ performance due to growing population.
“It is not a trifling matter that the population density is at a humongous 404 persons per square kilometer of area, whereas the global density is at a nominal 51 persons per square kilometer of land area”, the plea adds.
Over burdening on Direct Tax Payers against non-productive masses and over-exploitation of Natural Resources are other issues highlighted by the Petitioner.
Some Measures that may be considered by the Centre while formulating policies for Population control, as enumerated by the petitioner are;
- Minimum age of marriage: Child marriage/early marriages lead to a naturally long span for giving birth. Such marriages also deprive the females from attaining proper education and awareness required to appreciate the importance of issues of national importance like over population.
- Raising the status of women: The contribution of women as home makers should be recognised and valued. Special programmes are required to reach out to home makers and to make them aware about the national issues like over population. Even the provision for free education for homemaker women may be made.
- Establishment of affordable centres of Education: Higher education prepares the citizenry to contribute in the development of nation. It is a matter of common knowledge that highly educated population don’t prefer early marriage and most likely to adopt small family norms. Educated women are health conscious and avoid frequent pregnancies and thus help in lowering birth rate.
- Adoption: In a country like India, a lot of children are orphan and may be adopted but the legal regime for adoption is cumbersome. There are no incentives for adopting a child. Government should provide incentives for adoption.
- Social Security: People in general are inclined for more children with the hope that in their old age, children shall be their support and care givers. An effective social security scheme
covering the residency and health requirements of old age population may be effective in tackling with the mindset of the people.
- More employment opportunities: Employed people are more serious about better standard of living and tend to adopt small family norms.
- Providing incentives: Incentives have proved to be an efficient policy measure to address most of the development issues including population. If better provisions for health, educational or even financial incentive is provided to the small families, it would induce the masses to accept the measures for population control.
- Medical Facilities: Rural people, in order to ensure that at least some of their kids survive, are likely to give birth to more kids. Medical facilities in the rural areas should be brought to the level of similar facilities available in urban areas in order to reduce high infant mortality rate in rural areas.
- Recreational Facilities: Birth rate is likely to fall if there are proper recreational facilities available to the masses.
Prayer has been sought to issue writ in the nature of Mandamus to;
- Direct the Respondents to consider the 24th recommendation of National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (Justice Venkatchaliah Commission).
- Direct the Respondents to consider framing effective rules, regulations and guidelines in order to protect the fundamental rights of millions of citizens of India due to the problem of over population.
- Direct the Government to declare First Sunday of every month as ‘Health Day’ to spread awareness about over population and for distribution of contraceptive pill, condoms, vaccines etc. to EWS and BPL families, with polio vaccines.
- In the alternative, direct the Law Commission of India to prepare a comprehensive Report on Population control measures within three months and submit the same to the Respondents for due consideration.
- Pass such other or further orders, as the Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper.