No stay on Puja doles; Mamata told to ‘explain’
New Delhi: The Durga Puja dole of Rs 28 crore by the Mamata Banerjee government got caught in a legal tangle in Supreme Court on Friday.
Although the Court did not pass any order staying the disbursement of Rs 10,000 each to 28,000 Puja organisers, the judges gave six weeks for the state government to explain how a government carrying out secular functions could release public funds for a religious cause.
Quoting Mamata, that the money was a “gift” from the state government, the PIL filed by a Kolkata resident Sourav Dutta wondered how the state funds could be utilised for organising an event purely religious in nature. The money had already gone to the intended beneficiaries – 3,000 Puja committees in Kolkata and 25,000 across the state.
Defending the state before a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta was senior advocate Kapil Sibal. He argued the money was not paid to committees by the police to ensure effective traffic management.