A Public Interest Litigation under Article 32 of the Constitution has been filed before the Supreme Court by Devkinandan Thakur Ji, an Indian Saint and Spiritual Guru of Mathura District seeking directions to the Centre to control the population explosion in the country in order to secure the basic rights guaranteed under Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

This is the fifth PIL before the Apex Court seeking population control. Earlier, Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Amber Zaidi and Swami Jitendranand have approached the Court with similar petitions.

The Petition has been filed by Advocate-on-Record Ashutosh Dubey.

As per Petitioner, facts constituting the cause of action are –

  • Effect on Women

The Petitioner has stated in his Petition that the injury caused to citizens particularly women due to the Population explosion is extremely large.

Further, the Petitioner has contended that the incidence of grand multiparity which is defined as more than 4 viable births, in developing countries like India is 20% while it is only 2% in developed countries.

The Petitioner states that the ill-effects of repeated pregnancies both on women and the newborn are devastating, like in India malnutrition-anaemia is rampant in expecting mothers. This becomes worse with repeated pregnancies jeopardizing their health and leading to further adverse pregnancy outcomes. There is an increased risk of abortions also in such mothers. Mothers become more prone to infections with repeated pregnancies.

Additionally, the petition states that grand multiparity is itself a risk for both the antepartum haemorrhage that is bleeding before the onset of labour and postpartum haemorrhage, which is increased bleeding after childbirth. It is seen that such women also suffer from more genital tract injuries including rupture of the uterus sometimes leading to hysterectomy (surgical removal of the womb).

It also has been urged that these women spend the most productive and active years of their lives performing the task of childbearing and breastfeeding. Also, with fewer children, they can pursue their hobbies, their dreams and may be able to move towards a better quality of life.

The Petitioner has also urged that a strong and effective population control law on the lines of China is the need of the hour. More emphasis has to be laid on women's health and education. They are the foundation for our future generations. If they are physically and mentally fit, confident and independent, they can bring a paradigm change into the society. It is often said that 'a girl with dreams becomes a woman with vision.'

  • Population explosion – The root cause

The Petitioner submits through his Petition that population explosion is the root cause of most of the problems including shortage of water, forests, land, Bread, clothes and house, poverty and unemployment, hunger and malnutrition and air, and water, soil and sound pollution. It is the root cause of the crowds in trains, police stations, tehsils and jails, High Courts and Apex Court. Population explosion is the root cause of theft, dacoity and snatching, domestic violence, physical and mental harassment of women and separatism, fanaticism, stone pelting etc.

Thus, population explosion not only brazenly offends the right to life, liberty and dignity but also rule of law, the Petitioner states.

The Petitioner also argues that violence against women is increasing and the root cause is the population explosion. Thus, for daughters to have good health, social, economic and political justice, liberty of thoughts, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and opportunity, a stringent population control law, based on the Model of China is urgently required.

Further, the Petition states that population explosion is also the root cause of the pitiable condition of India's International Ranking.

The Petitioner pleads that India urgently needs an effective population control law to stop discrimination between boys and girls, and provide them equal rights and equal opportunity.

Population explosion is more dangerous than bomb explosion and without implementing effective population control measures, Healthy India, Literate India, Prosperous India, Resourceful India, Strong India, Secured India, Sensitive India, Clean India, Corruption and Crime-Free India campaign won't succeed, the Petitioner contends.

  • Role of NCRWC (National Commission to review the working of the Constitution)

The Petitioner states that NCRWC which was led by Former CJI Justice Vankatchalaih after the elaborate discussion had suggested the addition of Article 47A in the Constitution and formulation of Population Control Law, however, the law even after 125 amendments made to the Constitution has still not been enacted, though it will curtail 50% problems in India.

  • Diminishing Natural Resources

The Petitioner further also states that since every year the population is increasing the number of natural resources to sustain the population is diminishing.

Revival of natural resources is a must for generations. The population is quite large and rapidly increasing. A two per cent growth rate means an addition of about 3 crore people every year. Therefore, population control measure is the need of the hour, the Petitioner urged.

  • Age of Marriage

The Petitioner has urged that the age of marriage for both males and females should be 21 years, as fertility is dependent on marriage.

Additionally, the Petition states that the social outlook of people should undergo a change. Issueless women should not be looked down upon. More and more people should be covered under social security schemes. So that they do not depend upon others in the event of old age, sickness, unemployment etc. with these facilities they will have no desire for more children.

  • Menace of population explosion

Furthermore, the Petition states that there is no chapter on the menace of population explosion in the syllabus and curriculum. It is highlighted that the plight of enormous population growth is not a matter which can be solely handled or effectively tackled by the States alone. A high population growth rate cuts across various rights and sectors which can only meaningfully be controlled or tempered by the intervention of the respondents. The Centre and States are empowered to enact stringent population control laws. But, due to appeasement and vote bank politics, they have not taken appropriate steps to date.

The Petitioner contends that people in urban areas have a lower birth rate than those living in rural areas. Therefore, urbanization should be encouraged in villages. Girls' marriage should be solemnized after the age of 21 years. This will reduce the period of reproduction and bring down the birth rate.

The Petitioner also states that not much can be achieved if family planning and use of contraception remain optional instead of mandatory. Ensuring that people have easy access to contraception tools will help avoid cases of unwanted pregnancies and births.

  • Prayer

Thus, the Petitioner prays for the following reliefs –

i) Direct the Centre to frame stringent and effective rules and regulations to control population explosion for securing fundamental rights;

ii) Direct the Centre to ascertain feasibility of making the two-child norm a mandatory criterion for government jobs, aids, subsidies as well as the right to vote, right to contest and right to free shelter;

iii) Direct the Centre to declare the First Sunday of every month as 'Population Control Day' in place of 'Polio Day' in order to spread awareness of the population explosion and provide condoms, vaccines, contraceptive pills etc. to EWS and BPL parents and polio vaccines to children;

iv) Direct the Law Commission of India to examine population control laws and policies of the developed countries and prepare a comprehensive report within three months.

Click here to read/download the Petition