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SC junks PIL seeking to debar candidates with more than 2 children from electoral fray

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the Election Commission to mandate the recognised political parties to not field candidates with more than two children, wondering how a “constitutional court can say that if you have more than two children, you can’t contest election”.

The petitioner had also sought that the two-child norm be made a criterion for getting government jobs, subsidies and other benefits to check population explosion.

An unimpressed bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked how could they say that a person having more than two children should not be fielded as a candidate by recognised political parties, wondering if saying so was a proportionate judicial order.

“How can this court say that someone who has more than two children should not be allowed to contest from a recognised political part? Is it a proportionate judicial order?” CJI Gogoi asked as the court dismissed the PIL filed by advocate and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The court also flagged the issue of the propriety, legality and jurisdiction to pass such an order.

However, the court dismissed the PIL as withdrawn after Upadhyay told the bench that he has made representations to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Chief Election Commissioner on the issue.

Having been ducked on the issue of barring candidates with more than two children from the electoral fray, the petitioner raised the issue of different marriageable age for girls and boys, which is 18 and 21, respectively, and pointed to gender justice and gender equality.

But the unimpressed court asked Upadhyay how could he combine the two issues – barring candidates with more than two children and different marriageable age for boys and girls. “You have moved from the Election Commission to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,” the court said.


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