The Apex court refused to interfere with the government’s decision to distribute the funds to Durga Pooja committees adding that the funds should be distributed only through the state police. However, top court agreed to examine its validity and sought a response from the state.
It issued a notice to the West Bengal government on a petition challenging the government’s decision to grant Rs 28 crore to 28,000 Durga Puja committee across the state.
A petition was filed which challenged the High Court’s decision’s to interfere in the government’s decision regarding funds.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta passed the order while hearing an urgent petition challenging the Calcutta High Court’s decision which denied to interfere in the case. The petition was filed by advocate Sourav Dutta.
Advocate Dutta said the High Court had “failed to appreciate that there is no public purpose involved in organising Durga Puja rather it is a religious programme” in his appeal and challenged the High Court’s order.
The plea said “Since no public purpose would be served by granting money and/or handing out concessions to Durga Puja organisers, the said decision of the state violates the provision of Article 282 of the Constriction of Indian and thus, the said decision of granting money to the puja committees is liable to be set aside,” and emphasised “there is no provision of law by which state exchequer could be utilised for giving gift to puja organiser”.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee had announced to provide funds to the Durga Puja Committee. He declared to distribute Rs 10,000 to each of the 28,000 puja committees across the state. There are a total of 3,000 committees in the city and 25,000 in the districts which would be facilitated with the fund. The total amount would cost Rs 28 crore.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal who represented the state opposed the plea stating that the government distributed the funds to the pooja organisers through police.