Kerala has made stunning progress in the fields of literacy and population control. These were achieved through awareness programs and not by coercion. In both fields, the projects have reached self sustaining levels, a pattern where the vast majority of the people pursue the objectives automatically. The current situation is that many schools do not have sufficient students as a result of the family planning program, and face closure.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) recently threw a spanner into the works by asking its flock to beget more children to arrest the decline in the Catholic population. One is reminded of the Nazis directing Aryan women to produce as many children as possible to increase the number of true Aryans in
Almost on the heels of this came the recommendations of the Kerala Law Reforms Commission headed by Justice VR Krishna Iyer that opened up a new controversy. Justice Krishna Iyer, it may be recalled, was a member of Kerala’s first Communist Ministry and held important portfolios. Subsequently he was a Supreme Court Judge (1973-1980). He claims that he was never a Communist but only shared ‘socialist dimensions’ with them.
The Kerala Law Reforms Commission has recommended that a fine of Rs.10000 be imposed on couples with three or more children, along with other severe measures to ensure more effective birth control among the people. In Communist countries, which are usually called People’s Democratic Republics, such steps may go unchallenged. But
KCBC was, understandably, among the first to react. It claims that the Law Commission recommendations, if enacted, would infringe on the fundamental rights of the citizens. The Bishops’ organization goes on to say that it stands for responsible parenthood, which means that couples should decide on the size of the family based on their health and financial capabilities. Muslim groups also have protested vehemently against the Law Commission’s views.
I, a person with no formal law education, too feel that the recommendations would infringe on fundamental rights if they are made enforceable. Also, a question that comes to mind is what would be the legal implication if a person denies conjugal rights to his/her spouse in the name of State ordained birth control.
Ends.Also see Kerala: Left with empty granaries