Kolkata: The Calcutta high court on Friday directed the West Bengal government to put on hold the distribution of funds on account of Durga Puja till Tuesday.
In an interim stay order, a division bench of acting Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar asked the state government if there is any guideline, since a huge amount is involved.
The interim stay came after advocate Sourabh Dutta filed a PIL challenging the programme.
On September 10, chief minister Mamata Banerjee declared that `10,000 would be given to each of the 28,000 puja committees across the state — 3,000 in the city and 25,000 in the districts, costing the government an amount of `28 crore.
Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya stated that such distribution of money among puja committees is ‘unconstitutional’, since it is not admissible on religious ground.
Opposing the prayer, state advocate-general Kishore Dutta submitted that the fund was for the purpose of the state government’s “Safe Drive Save Life” campaign and claimed that the PIL is as such not maintainable.
The advocate general prayed for time from the court for taking instruction from the state government and to produce documents with regard to the decision to disburse funds for the purpose of traffic safety or “safe drive save life” campaign.
The PIL was filed on the basis of some newspaper reports and no research was done on this, he claimed. The matter will be heard again on Tuesday.