Nineteen-year old Steffi Fernandes represented by Adv. Aires Rodrigues has today challenged before the High Court the availability of the Laadli Laxmi application forms only with MLAs and the requirement that the form has to be signed before an MLA or MP.
In her petition Steffi Fernandes has submitted that though the Laadli Laxmi Scheme was propounded by Government for the benefit of a girl child born in Goa and who has completed 18 years, that the application forms are not available with the Directorate of Women and Child Development as all the forms had been taken by the ruling party MLA’s and none were available for the general public.
The Petitioner has also submitted that the requirement that the form be signed in the presence of an MLA or MP was entirely arbitrary as it could have been signed in the presence of any government designated officer of the Taluka, Panchayat or Municipality.
Stating that there was no cogent reason for the signature to be before the MLA or MP, the petitioner has submitted that this has been done to enable the ruling party MLA’s to obtain political mileage and leverage with the people who would be forced to approach them not only for the forms but also for their signature.
Pleading that the requirement that the form be signed only before an MLA or MP be declared void being opposed to public policy and the rule of law, the petitioner has submitted that such a requirement was for a political and malafide purpose being destructive to the very rule of law and transparency in dealing with citizens.
Pointing out to a similar requirement in the Dayanand Social Security Scheme and possibly in the proposed other schemes, the petitioner has submitted that requirement of signature only by MLA or MP was arbitrary and offends Article 14 of the Constitution of India and that the Goa government be also restrained from including such a requirement in any of its other schemes meant for the benefit of any section of the society.
In the petition filed under article 226 of the Constitution of India, Steffi Fernandes has sought directions of the High Court to the Goa Government to forthwith withdraw the requirement of signing the Laadli Laxmi application form only before an MLA or MP and to make the forms available to the public in sufficient numbers and without any restriction.
The petitioner while praying for further directions to the Government to accept and process in the same manner all forms under the Laadli Laxmi Scheme whether or not signed before an MLA or MP, the petitioner has also sought directives to the Goa government to desist from inserting such a requirement of signature before an MLA or MP in the forms for future schemes.