Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court Monday declared the monthly allowances given to Imams and muezzins by the West Bengal government as unconstitutional.
A division bench of Justices Pranab Kumar Chattopadhyay and Murari Prasad Shrivastava made the observation while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"We always believed that the move to pay monthly honorariums only to Imams was discriminatory and unconstitutional and the court today (Monday) upheld our contention," state BJP president Rahul Sinha said.
The Mamata Banerjee government last year had announced a monthly stipend of Rs 2,500 for the about 30,000 Imams in the state.
Following the announcement, the BJP filed the PIL challenging its legality.
Both the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Congress welcomed the court`s verdict, saying it has foiled the "state government`s move to discriminate between people on the basis of religion".