The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Laloo against 2-child bar

New Delhi, July 30: Laloo Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal does not agree with the Supreme Court, which today upheld the Haryana government order barring persons with more than two children from holding the post of panchayat sarpanch.

While Laloo Prasad, who has nine children, was not available for comment, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, RJD leader in the Lok Sabha, said the population problem cannot be solved just by bringing politicians under the law. “What is the point in barring 2,000 or 3,000 persons from contesting elections in a country with a population of more than 100 crore' What we need is mass awareness for the need to control population,” he said.

Garibi (poverty) is the main cause for the burgeoning population. It may (court order) have some symbolic value, but will not make much material difference.”

CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee said the law should come into force five or 10 years later. “How can you penalise those who have more than two children already'” he asked.

The Congress said it would react only after studying the full judgment. However, a senior leader, who did not want to be quoted, welcomed the move.

The Samata Party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, Basisth Narain Singh, also refused to comment. “We have not seen the court order. Till we thoroughly go through the text, we will not be able to give our comments,” Singh said.

The BJP and the Telugu Desam Party support the move. Desam-ruled Andhra Pradesh has already enacted a law that bars persons with more than two children from holding panchayat posts.

The BJP-led central coalition is toying with the idea of a similar law for members of Parliament and state legislatures. BJP sources said the party would support any such measure.

The Centre will bring in a bill after evolving a consensus across the political spectrum, the sources said.

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