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Bihar polls: family planning mandatory now

Bihar has become the second state after Haryana which has brought such a provision into effect, reports Anirban Guha Roy.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2007 21:05 IST

Aspiring candidates keen on contesting the urban polls in the state would now have to be careful about family planning.

Because if they have more than two children, they would be debarred from contesting the polls. Bihar has become the second state, which has brought such a provision. Haryana was the first state to do so by bringing the legislation in election for panchayat bodies.

The only saving grace is that the provision, incorporated in the Bihar Model Municipal Act, will come into effect from 2008. Which means that in the ensuing urban polls to be held in May 2007, the provision will not be applicable on the candidates.

"But this is the last time candidates, having more than two children, will be allowed to contest the urban polls. From next year onwards, persons having more than two kids cannot contest the urban polls," said Raghuvansh Prasad Sinha, secretary, State Election Commission (SEC).

The SEC had made the suggestion to the state government by citing the Supreme Court order in the case Javed & others vs State of Haryana & others. In this case, the apex court had held that the Haryana government's decision to debar persons having more than two children from contesting panchayat elections was justified.

Admittedly, the provision once implemented will have wider social-political ramifications. Social analysts argue that the provision is certainly a good way to check population growth in a populous state like Bihar but at the same time, it would deprive a big section of people especially the older generation usually having more than two children from contesting polls. Says Shaibal Gupta, convenor of ADRI, "In my view, the two child norm is a clinical alternative and not a substantive way for enforcing two child norm," he said.

Email Anirban Guha Roy: guharoy _anirban@rediffmail.com