NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a plea seeking a central law to control the "population explosion" in the country.
Seeking the government's response, a bench of Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and J.K. Maheshwari tagged the petition with a similar plea filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL), filed through advocate Ashutosh Dubey, sought direction from the Centre to control the population explosion in order to secure the basic rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution.
"Population explosion is also the root cause of the pitiable condition of our International Ranking. We are ranked 103rd in the Global Hunger Index, 43rd in Suicide Rate, 168th in Literacy Rate, 133rd in World Happiness Index, 125th in Gender Discrimination, 124th in Minimum Pay, 42nd in Employment Rate, 69th in Rule of Law Index, 43rd in Quality-of-Life Index, 51st in Financial Development Index, 177th in Environment Performance Index, 139th in GDP Per Capita," the plea said.
"The injury caused to citizens, particularly women, is extremely large. The perils of population explosion on economy and its ramifications are often discussed. But, the impact that repeated child bearing has on woman are seldom highlighted outside the niche areas. Incidence of grand multiparity, which is defined as more than 4 viable births, in developing countries like India is 20 per cent while it is only 2 per cent in developed countries. The ill-effects of repeated pregnancies both on women and the new-borns are devastating. In India, malnutrition-anaemia are rampant in expecting mothers. This becomes worse with repeated pregnancies jeopardising their health and leading to further adverse pregnancy outcomes. There is increased risk of abortions also in such mothers. Mothers become more prone to infections with repeated pregnancies," the plea read.
It said that the Centre passed its obligation on states though "Population Control & Family Planning" is mentioned in concurrent list. Hence the Centre can make law for rules and regulations and policies to control population explosion, which is the biggest menace to democracy and socio-economic development. It has not even drafted a Bill till date," the plea stated.
The plea sought directions from the Centre to ascertain the feasibility of enacting a stringent population control law in order to secure fundamental rights mainly rule of law, right to air, right to water, right to food, right to health, right to sleep, right to shelter, right to livelihood, right to justice and right to education guaranteed under Articles 14, 19, 21, 21A.
"In the alternative, direct the Law Commission of India to examine the population control laws and population control policies of the developed countries and suggest the population control steps in order to secure the fundamental rights..., " it prayed.