June 15, 2021

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Why India Does Not Need A Two-Child Law

3 min read
Two-child policy

Two-child policy

CONTEXT:

  • In 2005, the Gujarat government amended the Gujarat Local Authorities Act to “prevent a person having more than two children to be a member of panchayat, or the councillor of a municipality or municipal corporation”.
  • The amendment also added the clause to the other Acts governing elections to local administrative bodies such as the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949, and the Gujarat Panchayats Act.

 

Objective

  • To “order and stabilise” the growing population of the country, beginning with elected representatives, who should lead by example.

 

ABOUT:

  • Every biological child is to be counted as children born to the candidate, regardless of their survival, adoption or separation.
  • The section added in the 2005 amendment to the local body Acts states that the election departments would consider nominations of candidates with more than two biological children, if the children were born before the commencement of the amended Act in 2005 or up to one year after the commencement i.e. 2006.
  • The Act had considered the period of one year from the date of commencement to include those candidates, who might have been on the way to have their third child at the time the Act was amended.
  • If the third biological child is born during the course of the tenure, it is a ground for disqualification from the post.
  • The section states that the birth of any additional biological children to a candidate, post 2006, would be counted as “one entity” each, even if more than one child is born in a single delivery (twins, triplets etc).
  • Where a candidate has only one child on or after the date of the commencement of the policy, any number of children born out of single subsequent delivery shall be deemed to be one entity.
  • The policy does not include an adopted child or children.
  • Any biological surviving child of a candidate is considered as “one entity”, even if the marriage to the other parent has been legally dissolved.
  • The election department does not consider “biological children” as those being only from current marriages. Therefore, children from previous marriages, if more than two, would make for a valid consideration for disqualification.
  • According to an election officer, even biological children who were born alive, regardless of the duration of survival, are counted as “one entity”

 

Two-Child Policy in other Indian states

  • Rajasthan: The Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act 1994 bars a person with more than two children from contesting election as a panch or a member.
  • Madhya Pradesh: The state follows the two-child norm since 2001. Under Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (General Condition of Services) Rules, if the third child was born on or after January 26, 2001, one becomes ineligible for government service. The rule also applies to higher judicial services.
  • Telangana and Andhra Pradesh: Under Section 19 (3) read with Sections 156 (2) and 184 (2) of Telangana Panchayat Raj Act, 1994, a person with more than two children (after May 30, 1994) shall be disqualified from contesting election. The same sections in the Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1994, apply to Andhra Pradesh, where a person having more than two children shall be disqualified from contesting election.
  • Maharashtra: The Maharashtra ZillaParishadsAndPanchayatSamitis Act disqualifies people who have more than two children from contesting local body elections (gram panchayats to municipal corporations). The Maharashtra Civil Services (Declaration of Small Family) Rules, 2005 states that a person having more than two children is disqualified from holding a post in the state government. Women with more than two children are also not allowed to benefit from the Public Distribution System.
  • Uttarakhand: The condition of two-child norm was applied to those who contested the elections of zila panchayat and blocks development committee membership.
  • Karnataka: The Karnataka (Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj) Act, 1993 does not bar individuals with more than two children from contesting elections to local bodies like the gram panchayat.
  • Odisha: The OdishaZillaParishad Act bars those individuals with more than two children from contesting.
  • Assam:  Assam Cabinet had also decided that those with more than two children will be ineligible for government jobs from 2021.

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