The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a petition contesting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to grant Rs 10,000 each to 28,000 Durga Puja organisers in the state. The development comes a day after Calcutta High Court refused to interfere with the decision.
The petition was filed by lawyer Saurabh Dutta. In his petition, Dutta questioned the state government’s decision to disburse Rs 28 crore and claimed that it was a dole to puja committees and had no public purpose. The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was apprised about the Calcutta High Court’s Wednesday decision at length. The other justices on the bench comprise Justice SK Kaul and Justice KM Joseph.
The petitioner also said that the Trinamool Congress government’s decision to distribute Rs 10,000 cash each to 28,000 Durga Puja committees is a violation of the secular structure of the Constitution. Dutta urged the court to pass an order quashing the decision.
The Calcutta High Court had on Wednesday refused to interfere with the state government’s decision and observed that the legislature is the appropriate forum to decide on such expenditure. The court had last week passed an interim order staying the state government decision, a directive that was widely welcomed by the BJP and Left.
Banerjee had in September announced that her government will provide Rs 10,000 cash to each 28,000 puja committees across the state of which 3,000 are in Kolkata. The decision will cost Rs 28 crore to the state exchequer.