Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

50 years of Humanae Vitae

On 25 July 1968 Pope Paul VI issued encyclical Humanae Vitae. It dealt with population growth and birth control.
The main points of Humanae Vitae were as below:
1) Married love takes it origin from God who is love. It is the wise and provident institution of God the Creator. Husband and wife co-operate with God in generating and rearing of new lives. Married love is fully human, total, faithful and exclusive of all other and fecund.
2) Responsible parenthood means awareness of and respect for the proper functions of biological processes. Man’s reason and will must exert control over man’s innate drives and emotions. With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time. Responsible parenthood concerns the objective moral order which was established by God, and of which a right conscience is the true interpreter. Husband and wife are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow. They are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator. Each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.
3) Direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.
4) The Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.
5) If there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles.
6) Methods and plans for artificial birth control could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.
The encyclical ended with Pope’s appeal to Public Authorities, Scientists, Christian Couples, Doctors and Nurses, Priests, and Bishops.
At that time there was talk of population problem with doomsday scenarios. Those predictions have been proved wrong.
Now many people speak of demographic dividend. Many countries have declining populations. Some countries want to have more children. In Australia every time a child a born the mother gets 4,000 Australian dollars. China followed one-child policy for nearly 40 years. Now it has two-children policy. Japan was No. 1 economy. With decline in population its economy declined. Now it is No. 3 economy. In USA in 2017 deaths of whites were more than births. There is birth rate decline in Brazil.
With decline in population comes decline in employment. Old people will be more than young people.
Lot has changed in the last 50 years. Divorce has gone up. Many cohabit without marriage. Some countries permit same-sex marriages. Abortion has gone up. In cases of rape and saving mother’s life abortion is right.
Foreigners will take over countries with declining populations either as immigrants or as invaders.

Democracy in Delhi

Supreme Court verdict in the case of elected government versus Lieutenant Governor is a triumph of democracy in Delhi. It is a victory for AAP. It is a defeat for BJP in general, Narendra Modi in particular. Lieutenant Governors had stalled the work of Delhi government. First it was Najeeb Jung. Then it was Anil Baijal.

The judgment was given by a five-judge Constitution bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra, Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. It said aid and advice under Article 239AA means that LG is bound by the aid and advice of council of ministers of elected Delhi government. LG cannot act as an obstructionist to policy decisions taken by AAP government.

The constitution mandates the council of minister headed by Delhi chief minister to communicate all decisions to LG but they do not require LG’s concurrence. LG can only refer it to President if he has difference of opinion but he cannot sit on it, it said.

LG being the administrative head of Delhi must be informed of all executive power but he cannot stall all the decision of council of ministers who have been elected to address aims and aspirations of electorate. Both LG and the CM are constitutional functionaries who must work harmoniously with mutual respect and none of them should feel superior to the other. Delhi’s council of ministers headed by CM must communicate all decisions taken by it to the LG, but it does not mean LG’s concurrence is required on every issue.

Delhi enjoys a unique position under Constitution and neither LG nor the CM heading the council of ministers should consider themselves bigger than the other. They must work harmoniously. LG should not act in a mechanical manner to refer all decisions of the council of ministers to the President citing difference of opinion. Except for the three issues including land and law and order over which Centre had exclusive power, Delhi government must be allowed to legislate and govern other issues and LG cannot stall decisions mechanically. LG has no independent decision-making power and cannot behave as an obstructionist when the constitution gives primacy to representative of government.

Arvind Kejriwal tweeted “A big victory for the people of Delhi…a big victory for democracy…”

Soli Sorabjee welcomed the decision.

This verdict is second major victory for AAP. First was when Delhi High Court struck down Election Commission’s decision to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs because they were once parliamentary secretaries.

BJP is clutching at straws and selectively quoted from verdict regarding anarchy and Delhi not being a state.

It seems Congress is with BJP against AAP. For some time there was talk of AAP and Congress alliance against BJP in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. That did not happen. Sheila Dikshit started to make statements against AAP. TMC, TDP, JD(S) and CPI(M) are with AAP.

This verdict has implications for Kiran Bedi who is Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry and has fights with Congress government there.

India and USA

USA dictates to India what it should or should not buy from others. India should resist USA.
India should tell USA “We are a sovereign country. It is our right to buy anything from any country we want. Don’t tell us what we should not buy from other countries. If you impose sanctions there will be consequences.”
India dealt suitably with USA in Devyani Khobragade episode. India should deal with USA as equal and not as subsidiary.
India is low priority for USA. It postponed 2+2 talks twice. This time the talks were to be in Washington on 6 July. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was to meet Secretary of State Michael Richard Pompeo and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was to meet Defence Secretary James Norman Mattis. It is said Pompeo chose to go to North Korea to follow up on Trump-Kim summit. India should be in no hurry for 2+2 talks. India should postpone 2+2 talks twice to get even.
Iran is not India’s enemy. USA’s Permanent Representative to UN Nikki Haley said Iran funds terrorism and spreads conflict throughout the Middle East. USA is worse than Iran. It abets, funds, supports and trains terrorists and calls them freedom fighters. It did that in Afghanistan. It does that in Syria.
On 27 June Nikki Haley told Narenda Modi to stop buying oil from Iran. She comes below President, Vice President and Secretary of State of USA. Her conveying the message to India’s Prime Minister shows USA has low opinion of India and its PM.
India should not stop buying oil from Iran. Iran is ready to accept rupee payment. India should tell other oil and gas exporters that payment will be in rupees. India gave up Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline to please USA. India should not commit such mistake again.
India may buy missiles from Russia. India should be self-sufficient in defence production. It should not stop buying from Russia and buy from USA. USA wants India to buy from its military industrialists. For other imports India should pay in rupees. Putin-Trump summit is set to take place in Helsinki on 16 July.
India should deal with its problems with Pakistan alone. USA is not a reliable ally. Trump puts America First. India should put India First.
A strong rupee is in national interest. India should see that rupee appreciates against dollar and other currencies. Exporters should be told to quote their prices in rupees.

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