Calcutta HC Extends Hearing Of Durga Puja Fund Grants Till Oct 11

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Kolkata: The Calcutta High court extends the stay till 11 October, Thursday over the fund donation to the Puja committees by state government. Order on PIL maintainability will be given on Wednesday.

HC chief justice Debashish Kar Gupta today asked the state government about the criterion used to determine the puja committees who would be eligible for the grant from state government. In reply, state counsel said that it is the government’s prerogative to decide who get the money. The court can’t interfere in it.

Justice Kar Gupta then questioned if there is any leakage in the process. Lawyer and Left leader Bikas Bhattacharya who has appealed against the government’s decision said that is an unconstitutional move as court had also asked to stop special grants for imam. The court after hearing argument of both sides extended its stay on government’s decision till Thursday, 11th October.

“No one can interfere with government’s direction of financial grants to puja committees. In this case, he has mentioned the act 282 of the constitution.” Government lawyer Shaktinath Mukherjee said,” The government has a separate committee for the finance. There are auditor’s comptroller. As a result the taxpayer can not say anything about this.”
Arguing against the AG and the government lawyer, the lawyer of the complainant Vikash Ranjan Bhattacharya was present there. He has questions, “No one can question on the allocated money of a budget. Every year, money is allocated before in community policing. The Safe Drive Safe Life project is also involved in this. So how did this Rs 28 crore expended?

High Court asked whether there is a check and balance mechanism regarding this grant. Also it wanted to know whether similar grants are issued for other festivals. The HC also expressed displeasure with the fact that the notification to give money to clubs were taken even when the case is sub juiced.

“Kolkata Municipal Corporation and State Emergency and Fire Services Department together will give 10,000 to each of the Durga puja committee in Kolkata. This money will be handed over Kolkata Police. In districts, Department of Tourism, Department of Consumer Affairs and Department of Self Help Groups along with the West Bengal Police will give 10,000 to each Durga puja committee. There are some naughty people, who will offer money, do not take it from them,” Mamata Banerjee had announced earlier.

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