The Laadli Laxmi scheme recently launched by the BJP government is set to face a legal challenge with Adv. Aires Rodrigues today serving a legal notice on the Chief Secretary of Goa Sanjay Srivastava objecting to the high-handed manner in which the scheme was being implemented.
In his legal notice Adv. Aires Rodrigues has given the Goa Government 48 hours to ensure that application forms for the scheme are made available to the public at Government offices and not through Ministers and MLA’s.
Stating that he would be compelled in public interest to move the Bombay High Court for justice, Adv. Rodrigues has also demanded that the current application form be modified so as not to require those applying for the scheme from having to necessarily get their form signed and photo endorsed by an MLA or MP.
Stating that the Laadli Laxmi scheme was a public scheme to be borne by public funds, Adv. Rodrigues has in his notice stated that application forms have to be made available at government offices and cannot be allowed to be distributed only through MLAs and Ministers.
Adv. Rodrigues has pointed out that the rules framed for the scheme specifically state that the application form shall be issued by the offices notified by the Directorate of Women and Child Development and that the rules do not provide that the application forms should be signed and the photo of the applicant endorsed by an MLA or MP.
Stating that MLAs and MPs are elected to draft, debate and legislate good laws, Adv. Rodrigues has asserted that they cannot be allowed to usurp the power of government departments which are supposed to manage and implement government schemes freely and fairly without any political bias.
Adv. Rodrigues has drawn the Chief Secretary’s attention that the manner in which the government was proceeding with the Laadli Laxmi scheme reflects the shocking and sordid state of affairs by the government forcing the people to have to approach and be at the mercy of an MLA or MP for an application form of a Government scheme.
Stating that there cannot be political interference in the implementation of a government scheme, Adv. Rodrigues has expressed apprehension that a citizen who is not in good books with the MLA and MP or does not want to seek their favour or largesse will be unduly denied the benefit of a government scheme she is rightly entitled to.
Alleging that the Laadli laxmi scheme was officially launched on 6th July without the scheme being yet notified, Adv. Rodrigues has lamented that it was only a sad reflection of the haphazard manner in which the authorities are functioning.
Adv. Rodrigues has also drawn the Chief Secretary’s attention that on an advisory issued by the Union Home Ministry, the Puducherry administration issued directives for removal of mandatory recommendations by MLA or MP for availing of benefits of welfare schemes implemented by the government there.
Adv. Rodrigues has stated that the circular issued by Puducherry Chief Secretary M Sathiyavathy directed all departments, public sector undertakings and corporations implementing welfare schemes to take necessary and immediate action to amend the rules and guidelines in the application forms so as to remove the mandatory clause requiring a character certificate or recommendation from an MLA or MP.
The Chief Secretary’s circular was issued after M L Verma, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Home affairs wrote to the Puducherry Chief Secretary on September 15 last year advising the government to review all such schemes where the recommendation of an MLA or MP was mandatory to avail benefits under any welfare scheme.
It may be recalled that in 2001 when Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar launched the Dayanand Social Security scheme, the application forms were also initially available only with Ministers and MLA’s. But after Adv. Aires Rodrigues moved the Bombay High Court at Goa it was directed that it being a government funded scheme that the applications forms be made available to the public at government offices.