Supreme Court : Centre says ‘Family Planning’ in India is voluntary

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During the course of hearing, the Central Govt., told the Supreme Court that “Coercing people to have a certain number of children would be counter-productive and would lead to demographic distortion. And has expressed its disinclination towards forced family planning and population control laws.

On December 7, in an affidavit, the Centre said that India is a signatory to the Programme of Action of International Conference on Population and Development, 1994 which is unequivocally against coercion in family planning.

“In fact international experience shows that any coercion to have a certain number of children is counter-productive and leads to demographic distortions. The Family Welfare Programme in India is voluntary in nature which enables couples to decide the size of their families and adopt family planning methods best suited to them according to their choice without any compulsion,” the Centre submitted.

The matter was came in light after a petition was filed by Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay, a BJP spokesperson and lawyer, seeking enactment of law to control population and enforce family planning.

To this, he has submitted that population explosion is the “root cause of most of put problems” including shortage of drinking water, land, food, clothes and poverty.

And in response to it, The Centre has submitted that “public health” is a State subject under Indian constitution and States mist lead the process of health sector reforms. “The Central government plays a supportive and facilitative role in achieving health care reforms and outcomes,” it added.

The affidavit also pointed that 25 out of 36 states have achieved replacement level fertility of 2.1 or less. Moreover, underlining the various measures taken by Centre, the affidavit emphasized that “India is knocking at the doors of achieving replacement level fertility and has made remarkable improvement in reducing maternal and child mortality”.

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