The Calcutta High Court has directed the group Durga Puja organisers within the state to spend 75 per cent of the Rs 50,000 grant given by the West Bengal authorities on the procurement of Covid safety tools and the remaining on strengthening public-police bonding.
A division bench comprising justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee directed that the cash given by the state to the Durga Puja committees can’t be used for every other objective, and buy payments need to be submitted to the authorities for audit.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had introduced on September 24 the Rs 50,000 grant for every of the 36,946 Durga Puja committees within the state.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a tough time for all of us. We have decided to provide Rs 50,000 grant to each of the Durga Puja committees,” she had stated addressing a Durga Puja Coordination assembly.
CITU chief Sourav Dutta moved the petition on October 9 earlier than the division bench, difficult the grant and different doles equivalent to reductions on utility charges for permissions from fireplace brigade and energy distribution corporations.
The petitioner claimed that such a grant is in opposition to the idea of secularism in India and that it hurts the elemental rights offered within the Constitution.
During arguments, the state authorities advised the court docket that the grant is for “secular purposes” like shopping for Covid security tools and for public-police bonding.
The court docket directed that 25 per cent of the Rs 50,000 grant to every of the committees might be used for strengthening public-police bonding and inclusion of extra girls in group policing.
It additionally stated that the remaining 75 per cent of the funds need to be utilised for buy sanitisers, masks and face shields.
It directed that payments of such procurement ought to be submitted to the authorities in respective districts for auditing and a report should be submitted by the state authorities earlier than the court docket after the Durga Puja trip, when the matter can be taken up for listening to once more.
The court docket additionally stated that the interim order ought to be distributed to all Durga Puja committees by way of leaflets and an affidavit must be submitted by the state authorities on compliance.
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