The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday refused to interfere with the government’s decision to grant Rs 10,000 to each of the 28,000 Durga puja committees across the state and disposed off a petition filed challenging it. The government’s move, announced on September 10, was later stayed after a petition was filed in the court challenging it.
On Wednesday, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Sampa Sarkar observed that the state legislature was the appropriate forum to decide on the expenditures made by the government. The court, however, said it could interfere at a later stage when the scope arises.
Counsel for the petitioner, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said the court did not understand the nature of the petition.
“The court today disposed of the petition as it refused to interfere in the state government’s decision. It is most unfortunate as the court did not at all understand the nature of our petition. This grant is against secular principles of the Constitution. It is the court and not the legislature which can decide the fate of such a decision. It was the duty of the court to declare whether the action was violation of constitution or not. The Legislature cannot decide that,” Bhattacharya told The Indian Express, adding that they are contemplating moving Supreme Court challenging the verdict.
On Tuesday, Advocate General Kishore Dutta had submitted before the division bench that the funds were to be used for assisting police under its traffic safety campaign and not for any religious purpose.
State urban development minister Firhad Hakim said, “It does not matter whether we won or lost. What matters is that our move has met with success. It is also clear from this verdict that those who wanted to stall development by filing such petition will not succeed in their endeavours. I want to thank the honourable high court for this verdict.”