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Explain Logic Behind Allowances to Sanatan Priests, Donation to Durga Puja Committees: HC to Bengal Govt

File Photo of Calcutta High Court.

File Photo of Calcutta High Court.

The social activist requested the Court to intervene as a ‘public fund’ cannot be distributed to a religious community because their basic function job is to do religious activity and the expenditure is beyond the ambit of Indian Constitution.

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Sujit Nath

The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal government to explain the logic behind allowances announced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to Sanatan priests and donation to various Durga Puja Committees. The direction came following a public interest litigation filed by social welfare activist Shoban Dutta.

The social activist requested the Court to intervene as a ‘public fund’ cannot be distributed to a religious community because their basic function job is to do religious activity and the expenditure is beyond the ambit of Indian Constitution.

“The matter was moved today and the next hearing will be after a few days. The Court has also asked for an explanation from the state government on giving Rs 50,000 donations to Durga Puja Committees,” former mayor and CPI (M) leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharjee said.

The PIL was filed after the CM announced a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 and free housing to nearly 8,000 Sanatan Brahmin priests in the state on September 14.

Banerjee had said, “For several years, Sanatan Brahmin priests were deprived of any help. There are some who are extremely poor. Some of them met me and requested for any package and a land to make it a ‘Sanatan pilgrimage’ destination. Today, in the cabinet meeting we have decided to pay them a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 and also housing for them under Bangla Awas Yojna.”

She had said, “I don’t have the exact numbers of Sanatan Brahmin priests but so far we have received names of 8,000, and all of them will get their monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 from this year Durga Puja and they will be eligible for housing.”

“Please don’t speculate much about this move. If a priest of a church will ask for any help, our government is always there to stand beside them,” she said.


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