Javed & Ors v. State of Haryana & Ors
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 30/07/2003
COURT: Supreme Court of India
JUDGES: R.C. Lahoti, Ashok Bhan, Arun Kumar.
REFERENCE: Writ Petition (civil) 302 of 2001
Respondent: State of Haryana
SUBJECT: The judgment revolves around the question of whether sections 175(1)(q) and 177(1) of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 stands constitutionally valid?
FACTS: Section 175(1)(q) Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 disqualifies a person from holding certain offices in Panchayats if he has more than two children. And 177(1) of the provides an exception to it, which states that, the enforcement of disqualification shall commence after one year from the commencement of the Act. A person having more than two children upto the expiry of one year of the commencement of the Act is not disqualified. If a woman has conceived at the commencement of the Act, then any one of such couple would not be disqualified. Though not disqualified on the date of election if any person holding any of the said offices incurs a disqualification by giving birth to a child one year after the commencement of the Act he becomes subject to disqualification and is disabled from continuing to hold the office. Contending these sections validity, the petitioner filed a Special Leave Petition before the SC.
The Indian Constitution:
- Article 136: Special leave to appeal by the Supreme Court:
- Notwithstanding anything in this Chapter, the Supreme Court may, in its discretion, grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India.
- Article 14: The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India
- Article 25(1): Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion
- Whether sections 175(1)(q) and 177(1) of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 stands constitutionally valid?
The petitioner contended that,
- The provision is manifestly arbitrary and hence violative of Article 14.
- The purpose of the legislation is not served by the impugned provisions
- The provision is discriminatory in nature.
- The provision intrudes into the personal liberty of an individual which forms a part of Article 21
- In the Muslim community a person is permitted to marry upto 4 women therefore the provision intrudes upon the religious freedom of Islamic people.
Rebutting the contentions of the petitioners the respondents contended that,
- The impugned provisions satisfy the test of reasonability under Article 14 as there is a well-defined classification. Those with two ore less number of children form a class and those with more than two children form a different class. Therefore, equality among equals is satisfied.
- The provision is a policy decision taken by the executive for the effective implementation of family planning programme. Moreover, this being a policy decision is beyond the powers of judiciary due to the doctrine of separation of powers.
- Article 243G(b) provides that Gram Panchayats may be entrusted the powers to implement schemes for economic development and social justice including those in relation to matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule. Entries 24 and 25 of the Eleventh specifies family welfare and women and child development respectively.
Upon hearing the parties to the case, the Court held that, sections 175(1)(q) and 177(1) of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 are constitutionally valid, therefore the petitions which challenged the validity of the said provisions are liable to be dismissed.