New Delhi: Durga Puja celebrations this year seem to be going hand in hand with controversies. This time the bone of contention is with the Mamata Banerjee government doling out sops worth Rs 28 crore to various puja committees for the festivities.

After passing the legal hurdle in Calcutta High Court, now the Supreme Court has refused to stay the decision of Bengal government, adding that the grant should be distributed through state police to puja committees.

A bench comprising Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta agreed to examine whether any state government can disburse funds for religious activities. The apex court has issued a notice to the Bengal government to make its stand clear and given six weeks to the state for the same.

Interestingly, the grant would have reached their respective recipients within the stipulated six weeks time frame, making this decision a win for the state government.  

A plea was filed challenging Calcutta High Court's refusal to intervene in the matter. On September 10, Mamata Banerjee had 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.

The counsel for petitioner Sourav Dutta argued that the decision to distribute Puja sops is unsecular. Arguing for the state, Kapil Sibal informed that the money has been distributed through cheques.