Calcutta HC quashes plea challenging grant of money to Durga puja committees

This is a major relief to the Mamata Banerjee's government as the court, on October 5, issued a stay on the disbursement of the money.

October 10, 2018 02:21 pm | Updated 04:00 pm IST - Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the inauguration of the Durga Puja festival in Kolkata on Tuesday.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the inauguration of the Durga Puja festival in Kolkata on Tuesday.

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a public interest litigation petition challenging the West Bengal government’s decision to allocate ₹10,000 to 28,000 community Durga puja committees.

The development comes as a major relief to the government as the court had issued a stay on the disbursement of the money on October 5.

“We are not inclined to entertain the petition at this stage,” a Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Sampa Sarkar said.

The court observed that after going through materials on record, its considered view was that the Legislature is the ultimate forum to decide on the nature of expenditure incurred by the State government. The court can intervene only at a later stage, the Bench said.

The court order noted the arguments presented by Advocate General Kishore Datta that the grant to community Durga Pujs is for promoting community policing under the Safe Drive and Save Life campaign and not for any religious purpose.

During the course of the hearing, Mr. Datta presented documents, indicating the creation of a new head for grants to puja committees by the Finance Department

Against constitutional provisions, say6s counsel

Petitioners counsel Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya argued that giving money for a religious event from the public exchequer is against constitutional provisions.

The Bench also noted the arguments made by Saktinath Mukherjee, senior counsel representing the State, who tried to impress on the court that as per the Westminster System of Parliamentary Government, financial management is part of the executive and the judiciary cannot interfere in this matter.

On September 10, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made the announcement of allocating ₹ 10,000 to 3,000 Durga puja commitees in Kolkata and 25,000 in other parts of the State.

On the court’s query as to how the puja committees have been selected, the Advocate General said that all those committees which had either obtained permission from the police or had applied for permission for organising Durga pujas will be allocated the grant.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.