The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court, govt at odds on child bar

New Delhi, Oct. 12: The Supreme Court has upheld the legal competence of the two-child norm and ruled that it does not violate any fundamental right ' an order that goes against the government's stated position.

The publication of the court ruling, delivered last week on a petition challenging Haryana's two-child norm for municipality members, today coincided with Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss' assertion at a meeting that the 'two-child norm cannot be imposed as it would be a violation of fundamental rights of the people'.

The Supreme Court had upheld the two-child norm in a Haryana panchayat case last year. The latest judgment takes it to the next rung of the power pyramid ' the municipality ' and arms states and the Centre with legal ammunition if they choose to address socio-political concerns and broadbase the coverage of the norm.

Last Thursday, a bench of Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justices G.P. Mathur and P.K. Balasubramanyan rejected a challenge to the Haryana Municipal Act stipulating that a municipality member would be disqualified 'if he has more than two living children'.

The legislation has a safety clause to avert retrospective effect. Those who have more than two children on or before the expiry of one year of the commencement of the act would not be disqualified.

Ruling that the Assembly had the legislative competence to enact such a law, the court said 'the growth of population of India was alarming and posed a menace to be checked. It was in the national interest to check the growth of population by casting disincentives even through legislation'.


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