KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday refused to accept a public interest litigation filed against the West Bengal government's decision to offer grants to puja committees for Durga Puja in the state. The court had put a stay on disbursal of funds worth Rs 10,000 each to 28,000 puja committees across the state.
The plea had claimed that giving funds to puja committees is a violation of the secular structure of the Constitution. However, the government had said that submitted before the division bench that the fund is to be used to assist police under its traffic safety campaign and not for any religious purpose. Advocate General Kishore Dutta had said that the funds will be used for sanitation and public safety.
The government had on Tuesday told the High Court that it cannot interfere in a legislative decision on granting funds to the committees. Senior counsel Saktinath Mukherjee, also appearing for the state, had said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) can scrutinise expenditure of a government and by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature and the court has no role to play at the stage of expenditure.
On September 10, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had declared that Rs 10,000 would be given to each of the 28,000 puja committees across the state. These 28,000 pandals include 3,000 in the city and 25,000 in the districts. The entire exercise will cost Rs 28 crore to the government.