A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre to frame rules, regulations and guidelines to effectively mitigate the problem of over-population.
The petitioner, Dandi Swami Jeetendranand Saraswati, filed the PIL through Advocate Sanjay Kumar Pathak. The PIL has been filed under Article 32 seeking appropriate writ order or direction to the Central Government to frame rules, regulations and guidelines to effectively mitigate the problem of over-population. Over-population is one of the most significant factors giving rise to several serious problems adversely affecting the quality of life of millions of Indian citizens.
The petition states that for the benefit of common citizens, particularly women, poor, disabled, economically weaker section and socially-economically downtrodden people. As they are incapable of accessing the Court themselves, the petitioner is filing this PIL to secure their basic fundamental and human rights guaranteed under Article 21.
The petitioner understands the role of the Constitution and the law in improving the life and dignity of Indians, therefore, the petitioner in addition to discharging his religious duties is also associated with the issues of larger public like Ganga Mahasabha, Institute for Nurturing Indian Intellect (INII) and forum etc, said the PIL.
The petition also said that the basic fundamental right like right to live with human dignity, right to clean air, right to drinking water, right to health, right to shelter, right to livelihood and right to education guaranteed under the Constitution will remain elusive unless the respondents give due consideration to the proposals made by the National Commission to Review the working of the Constitution (NCRWC) to mitigate the problem of over-population.
At present, the population of India is close to 1.39 billion which is about 17.8% population of the world. But India has only 2% of agriculture land and only 4% drinking water of the world. In USA, 10,000 children are born every day whereas in India 70,000 children are born every day.
That over-population is also the main cause of the pitiable condition of India’s international ranking. India is 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, 66th 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.
It was highlighted in the PIL that according to the United Nation parameters, the below poverty line population of India was more than 50 crore in 2011. It is not a trifling matter that the population density is at a humongous 404 persons per square km of area, whereas the global density is at a nominal 51 persons per square km. The enormity of the crisis becomes quickly apparent when the population density figures of certain other countries (both developed as well as developing nations) are juxtaposed with that of India. While developed nations such as USA and UK are at population densities of 33 and 271 persons respectively per square kilometre, those in countries of comparable economic conditions such as Brazil and South Africa fair tremendously better with a density figure of 25 and 46 persons per square km respectively. China, being the most populous country in the world, has a population density of only 144 persons per square km.
Several campaigns launched by the Governments and the resources allocated for such campaigns are not likely to achieve the desired results unless a duly considered policy to check over -population is put in place, the PIL reads.
The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) after elaborate work for two years suggested addition of Article 47A in the Constitution and formulation of Population Control Law. But no consideration has been given by the governments to the recommendations of NCRWC , the Petition alleged.
The Petitioner claimed that, in 1976, Entry 20A was inserted in the List III (Concurrent List) to Schedule VII of the Constitution which is “Population Control and Family Planning”. However, the years following the said amendment has only brought to light the apathy of respondent in tackling the problem of Over population, and the entire scheme of population control and family planning has been left for implementation by the States.
The macro level policy for the nation are laid down by the Union Govt, therefore, it is imperative that a national level policy to address the issue of over population is laid down by the central Govt. Over population cuts across various sectors which can be meaningfully controlled or tempered by the intervention of the state, the Petition states.