Funds to Durga pujas: Calcutta High Court refuses to interfere

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Sampa Sarkar said that the Legislature is the appropriate forum to decide on expenditure by the state government.

Published: 10th October 2018 01:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th October 2018 01:36 AM   |  A+A-

Goddess Durga idols displayed for the Durga puja, Navaratri and Dussehra celebrations in Hyderabad. Image used for representational purpose only. (Vinay Madapu | EPS)

Express News Service

KOLKATA: In a big relief to the West Bengal government, Calcutta High Court on Wednesday refused to interfere in a state government decision to allot Rs 10,000 each to 28,000 Durga Pujas across the state.

The division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Debashish Kar Gupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar refused to accept the petition filed against the government order and asked the issue to be taken up after next budget.

"The court made it clear that it will not interfere in the matters of economic policies of the state government and left the legislature to take the final call,-" said advocate Arka Kumar Nag appearing for the state government.

The judgment comes after the state government lawyer on Tuesday argued that the court had no jurisdiction to interfere in the order which was a legislative order. The state's lawyer argued that the state government was answerable to only CAG and the Legislature.

To this, the court had said that it was not interfering in the state government order but wanted to plug the loopholes in implementation of the scheme.The petitioner's lawyer Bikash Bhattacharya argued that the money were given as doles to the puja committees and had no public purpose. He had brought up the 2013 state government stipend to imams which, after a division bench of Calcutta High Court scrapped as unconstitutional, was not challenged by the state government.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on September 10 announced Rs 28 crore grant to 28,000 Durga Pujas across the state which was challenged by a PIL at the High Court on September 19.

The division bench asked the state government on which grounds it was using exchequer money and whether there was any guideline for it.

The petitioners are likely to challenge the High Court order in the Supreme Court.

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