New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday sought the Centre’s reply on a plea challenging a Delhi High Court order that dismissed a PIL seeking certain steps, including two-child norm, to control the country’s rising population.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant issued notices to the Centre and others.
The appeal filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has challenged the September 3 high court order, which said it was for Parliament and the state legislatures to enact laws and not for the court.
It said the high court failed to appreciate that the right to clean air, the right to drinking water, the right to health, the right to peaceful sleep, the right to shelter, the right to livelihood and the right to education guaranteed under Articles 21 and 21A of the Constitution could not be secured to all citizens without controlling the population explosion.
“The high court failed to appreciate that after a detailed discussion, debate and feedback, Entry 20-A was inserted in List III of the 7th Schedule through the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976, which permits the Centre and the states to enact a law on population control and family planning,” the plea filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey said.
It also said the high court did not take note of the fact that after a comprehensive discussion, the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, one of the most eminent judicial commissions headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice M N Venkatachaliah, on March 31, 2002, recommended to insert Article 47A into the Constitution to control 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 is 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. The petitioner argued that without population control measures, campaigns such as “Clean India” and “Save the Girl Child” would not succeed.
He said by the time the government provides housing to the over two crore homeless people, the numbers of such individuals would rise to 10 crore.