New Delhi: 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. It is to be noted here that the high court had directed the state government to put on hold the distribution of funds on account of Durga Puja till Tuesday.

On October 5, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar had asked the state government if there is any guideline since a huge amount is involved.  The stay came after advocate Sourabh Dutta filed a PIL challenging the programme.

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. 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.

 “We welcome the court order. What the state government is doing is nothing but dole politics. Earlier also, with an eye on Muslim votes, the government had announced allowances for Imams. Now, this has been done to pacify Hindus with an eye on Hindu votes. But we all must remember that India is a secular country and we can’t preach such kind of politics,” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh had said.

The PIL was filed on the basis of some newspaper reports and no research was done on this, he claimed.

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.

(With PTI inputs)