Question: The Population Control Bill introduced by states such as Uttar Pradesh and Assam will undermine the fundamental rights given in the constitution. Critically analyze.
Answer: States such as Uttar Pradesh and Assam have joined a list of other states that have introduced coercion laws to control population growth in their states. The states feel that the measures will discourage couples to have more than two children.
Violation of constitutional provisions
- Right to life
Right to life under Article 21 ensures that individual will be given all opportunity to lead a dignified life. This also includes their choice of life partner and number of children.
- Right to equality
The state shall not discriminate between individuals while giving its support, except in case of ensuring social justice for marginalized communities (Article 15).
- Reproductive rights
These are also part of fundamental rights of women. They have the final say in reproduction as well as birth. The population bill will be against this spirit.
Validity of population control laws
- Coercive nature
The law does not ban birth of more than two children but discourages. It takes away facilities to discourage couples from having more children.
Ex: Taking away subsidy, disqualification from government service etc.
- Non-absolute nature of Fundamental rights
The constitution itself has mentioned that fundamental rights are not absolute. The state can take away some rights if it is for a meaningful purpose.
Rationality of population control
- Lack of resources
The state does not have infinite resources to finance growing population in India. As population grows, the revenue does not grow proportionally.
- Improvement of human developmental parameters
Parameters such as Child Mortality Ratio and Maternal Mortality ratio can be improved only if the birth rates can be controlled.
Thus, the population bill is not completely against the spirit of our constitution if implemented properly. There must not be discrimination between religious groups.