- Relevant Citation: AIR 2003 SC 3057
- Decided on: 30th July, 2003
- Court: Supreme Court of India
- Judge Bench: Honorable Justice R.C. Lahoti, Ashok Bhan and Arun Kumar.
Facts of the Case:
The Haryana Government passed Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994. The petitioner challenged the constitutionality of this case as it prohibited anyone with more than two children from holding certain offices in the Panchayati Raj System in Haryana. The main objective behind introducing the act was to disqualify people for election of Panchayats at each level, who have more than 2 children after one year from the date of commencement of this Act. Some petitioners were disqualified from contesting the election and to continue the office of Panch or Sarpanch as per Section 175(1)(q) and Section 177(1) of the act.
- The several provisions of the Act are arbitrary and hence are violative of Article 14of the Indian Constitution.
- The disqualification from contesting the election or terminating the service during the tenure does not serve the purpose of popularizing the family planning programme which is sought by the legislation.
- The provisions are discriminatory in nature as they discriminate the service of the individual on the basis of children, he/she has.
- The provision adversely affects the fundamental right of personal life and personal liberty granted under constitution to every individual in regard to freedom and having as many as one chooses.
- The provision interferes with the freedom of religion as a muslim man are permitted to marry with four women and it is possible that the man procreated 4 children from each wife and hence violates Article 25of the Indian Constitution.
The Court held the law to be constitutionally valid. The court found out that the law was not arbitrary as the groups who have two children or who have more than two living children are well-defined in the act and the classification is done on the basis of intelligible differentia as per the objective of the act (i.e.) to promote the family planning program. The court observed that contesting in election is not a fundamental right rather it is a statutory right and therefore restrictions can be imposed on such types of rights by statute. The court also emphasized that controlling the population was very necessary in order to fulfill the dream of sustainable development of the country.
The court held that law does not violate Article 25 of the Indian Constitution. The court also observed that freedom only protects a religious practice or a positive tenet, not just everything which is permitted in a religion.
https://www.panchayat.gov.in/documents/20126/0/The+Haryana+Panchayati++Raj+Act+1994.pdf/6045c87f-2008-4796-fdf4-1ec30d951b00?t=1554877646549 (Last Visited on 9th August, 2021 at 12:05 PM)
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