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Durga Puja funds: Win for Mamata as HC refuses to accept PIL against govt decision


Kolkata, Oct 10: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday refused to accept the PIL filed against state government's decision to offer grants to puja committees for Durga Puja in West Bengal.

The court on Wednesday refused to intervene in the matter at the current stage of the process and found legislature appropriate forum for adjudication of the matter.

Godesss Durga

The HC had earlier stayed the decision and directed the state government to file a response with an explanation for the grants.

Appearing for the state, Advocate General Kishore Dutta said the funds would be used by the committees to promote its 'Safe Drive, Save Life' campaign and ensure public safety.

The disbursal of funds is expected to cost the state government Rs 28 crore.

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On September 10, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared that Rs 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 Rs. 28 crore.

Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya had 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 had 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.

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The advocate general had also prayed for the 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 state BJP leadership had welcomed the high court order and said the state government is indulging in "dole politics" to win Hindu votes ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

The chief minister had accused the RSS, the BJP and the Bajrang Dal of trying to foment trouble in Islampur area of North Dinajpur district, where two students were shot dead during a clash with police last month.

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