SC: Birth of Third Child Disqualifies Panchayat CandidatesThe Supreme Court has ruled that just the birth of the third child disqualifies a person from contesting rural body elections and from holding any office as sarpanch in a panchayat. It said that the legislative intent behind the law was to prevent the third live birth and not to ensure that the person reared only two children and gave away the one child in adoption. The intention was to prevent births to reduce the population. The matter came up after an Odisha sarpanch challenged the Orissa HC decision to bar him from holding the office of sarpanch after the birth of his third child. His argument was that he had given away the first child in adoption and hence he claimed to adhere to the two-child policy.
By Sunil Garodia
But the court dismissed the argument by saying that the law was to prevent the third birth and it did not matter if the person adhered to the two-child norm by giving away one child in adoption. The petitioners lawyer also argued that a person can also have more than two children if the second birth produces twins or triplets. But the court was not impressed and ruled that it will not decide on such an eventuality as it was not the subject matter of the case at hand.
The need to control population is real and urgent in India. Hence, the legislature had enacted this law to make elected rural leaders role models for the rest of the population. If such subterfuges are used to go around the law, the real purpose will be defeated. The court was right in reading the legislative intent correctly and upholding the Orissa HC ruling.