The Calcutta High Court today refused to stay the Mamata Banerjee government’s decision to offer grants to puja committees and pandals for the Durga Puja celebrations in the state. The division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Sampa Sarkar also quashed the PIL filed seeking the Trinamool Congress government’s decision be reversed.
The court had last Friday stayed the state government’s decision to offer Rs 10,000 cash to each of the 28,000 puja committees and pandals in the state.
The PIL in the HC was jointly filed by advocate Dyutiman Chatterjee and a citizen named Sourav Gupta. The court had last week passed an interim order staying the government’s order and said that it will pass a final order only examining the details.
The announcement of Rs 10,000 grant was made by the CM on September 10. She had said that one-time grant of Rs 10,000 will be given to 28,000 puja committees including 3000 in Kolkata. “All 3,000 Durga Puja committees in Kolkata and 25,000 elsewhere in the state will get Rs 10,000 each. In Kolkata, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the Fire Services and the Kolkata Police will ensure all community puja organisers get the grant under the community development programme. The Kolkata Police will hand over the money to the organisers,” the CM had announced.
The decision will cost the state government Rs 28 crore.
The announcement made by Banerjee was widely criticised by the opposition parties. Also, hundreds of clerics and Muslim youth had protested against Mamata Banerjee and demanded a hike in the monthly stipends given to imams.