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Uttar Pradesh’s population control plan is not only unconstitutional – it may also be disastrous

BUY-SELL | HELP WANTED | MATRIMONIAL

The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has released a draft Bill on population control. Titled “The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021”, it comes on the heels of the 2022 Assembly elections in the state.

While much of the debate on the legislation has been centred around whether it is targeted at the Muslim community or not, the Bill has ramifications for all residents, both Muslims and non-Muslims, of Uttar Pradesh.

Incentivising ‘voluntary’ sterilisation

The Bill is proposed to be enacted under entry 20A of the Concurrent List enumerated in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. Entries in the Concurrent List contain subjects on which both the Parliament and the state Assemblies can legislate. Entry 20A, which deals with “population control and family planning” was inserted into the Constitution in 1976 by the Indira Gandhi government, at the height of the Emergency.

Section 4 of the Bill is titled “incentives to public servants” and states that those government employees who adopt the “two-child norm by undergoing voluntary sterilisation” shall be entitled to various benefits. These benefits can also be availed if the spouse of the government employee undergoes sterilisation.

Benefits include additional salary increments, maternity/paternity leave of 12 months, housing loan assistance, rebates on house…

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