The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh why the apex court should not intervene when “astronomical and inconscionable” amounts of public money is being spent on construction of the Rs. 2,600 memorials and statues of Dalit icons in Lucknow.

A bench of Justices H.S. Bedi and A.K. Patnaik disagreed with the argument of senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for the State that courts cannot interfere in such matters as it was purely an executive function.

The apex court asked the government whether it should remain a silent spectator if public money for instance meant for construction of primary schools or hospitals is diverted for errecting such memorials.

“Supposing you spend astronomical and unconscionable amount, should the court not say anything in this regard? There is no difficulty if you are constructing memorials. But what matters is the huge amount spent on it.

“Supposing funds are meant for a purpose but are being diverted, should we not interfere?” the bench told the U.P. government.

Mr. Salve argued the petition filed by the NGO Gomtinagar Kalyan Sanstha and certain others were not maintainable as it was within the rights of the government to spend its budgetary allocation.

He submitted the petition amounted to challenging the appropriation bill passed by the State legislature and was an attempt to pit one Constitutional wing against the other.