About 6,000 Imams have already applied to the West Bengal Wakf Board for the monthly honorarium of Rs 2,500 announced by the state government recently.
This was revealed during a hearing on a petition by the state BJP challenging the decision of the state that has allocated Rs 90 crore for the purpose.
The state government issued a notification on April 9 in this regard. According to the notification,a task force headed by the Chariman of Wakf Board will recommend the names of the Imams after scrutinising the application within two weeks.
A source in the Wakf Board said it has already received Rs 30 crore from the state government.
Arguing on the petition,Ashoke Banerjee,counsel of Wakf Board,said the application of the Imams would be scrutinised by the task force headed by the Chairman of the Wakf Board,retired high court judge Md. Abdul Gani.
Advocate Kusik Chanda,counsel of the BJP,pleaded that it is the wakf board and not the state government that can pay any monthly honorarium or pension to the Imams according to a Supreme Court order.
Banerjee said the 71 Imams of the mosque run by the Wakf Board used to get ex-gratia twice in a year from 1995 onwards. The Wakf Board could not pay such amount to other Imams due to shortage of funds,he added.
Banerjee also said the BJP has filed the writ petition with a political motivation and not in public interest.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Jaynarayan Patel and Justice Sombudha Chakraborty then wanted to know whether any petition filed by any political party should not be maintainable under any provision of law.
Adjourning the hearing,Division Bench said it would hear further arguments in the case next Friday.