Calcutta HC gives conditional permission to Bengal govt on grant to Puja committees

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday gave conditional approval to the West Bengal government to offer donations worth Rs 60,000 crore to 43,000 community Durga Puja committees in the state.

Rejecting the pleas in a number of public interest litigation (PIL)s to bar the state government from offering such doles to the community Puja Committees, the division bench of Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice, Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj, imposed six conditions on the state government while offering such donations.

However, when the order was passed, the bench did not specify the six conditions imposed. Instead, the concerned parties were advised to check the full copy of the order once it is uploaded on the website of the Calcutta High Court.

On August 22, Chief minister, Mamata Banerjee made an announcement for granting Rs 60,000 crore to 43,000 community Durga Puja committees, which would put a pressure of |Rs 258 crore on the state exchequer.

In addition, she also announced a 60 per cent subsidy on the electricity bills for these community Puja committees.

A number of PILs were filed at the said division bench. The petitioner contended that at a time when the state government is unable to pay dearness allowance 9DA) arrears to the state government employees, such expenditure on account of doles to community Durga Puja committees, were wasteful expenditure.

State Advocate General S.N. Mukhopadhyay argued that the entire expenditure is made for public purposes since the state government’s aim is to protect and publicize the rich heritage of the state and Durga Puja is a part of the rich heritage.

After hearing detailed arguments in the matter, the court finally on Tuesday morning, gave conditional consent to the state government to offer the grant to the Puja committees.

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