NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay West Bengal government's decision to offer grants totalling Rs 28 crore to various Durga Puja committees in the state. The top court however issued a notice to the state government on the matter and sought a detailed affidavit from it within six weeks.
The two-judge bench, consisting of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta
SC was listening to a plea challenging Calcutta HC's decision to remove the stay on disbursal of funds worth Rs 10,000 each to 28,000 puja committees across the state.
The plea, filed by advocate Sourav Dutta, claims 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. The state added that the funds will be used for sanitation and public safety.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the state government, said the money has not been directly paid to puja committees and has been given through the state police.
On September 10, Banerjee had declared that Rs 10,000 would be given to each of the 28,000 puja committees across the state --3,000 in the city and 25,000 in the districts, costing the government Rs 28 crore.