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Notice to Centre, poll panel on two-child norm

By Our Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI, FEB. 28. The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre, the Election Commission and six States on a petition for a direction to implement the two-child norm for the members of Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and Councils and panchayat samitis to check the alarming growth of population.

A Bench of the Chief Justice, R.C. Lahoti, and Justice D.M. Dharmadhikari issued the notice on a petition from social activist Anil Kumar Haridash, who pleaded for framing a policy to ban persons from contesting elections if they had more than two children. The Bench issued notice to Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

The petitioner pointed out that under a Haryana legislation, persons with more than two children were disqualified to contest the local bodies elections but the same was not applicable to those contesting the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The Supreme Court had upheld this law. Similar laws had been enacted in some States.

The petitioner said the Union Health Minister, Anbumani Ramadoss, while inaugurating a conference on `National Consultation on Gender and Health' had stated that "We will not force or coerce any one to adopt any family planning measures and enforcing the two-child norm in some States is totally against the basic fundamental rights of people." The petitioner prayed for a direction to the Centre and other States to implement a uniform policy of two-child norm.

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