Calcutta High Court scraps Mamata Banerjee’s stipend to Imams
The Calcutta High Court on September 2 ordered the West Bengal Government to stop payment of a monthly stipend to thousands of Imams and Muezzins in the State. Imams and Muezzins are people who organise prayers in mosques. Since April last year, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Government had been paying more than 30,000 Imams in the state Rs 2500 per month and over 15,000 Muezzins Rs 1500. The State Opposition had slammed the move as a bid by Ms Banerjee to woo the minority community.
The Court order came in response to four public interest litigations (PILs) filed in May last year, including one by the state unit of the BJP. Kanchan Chanda, the lawyer representing the state BJP, says the division bench found that the State Government did not even pass an order to pay muezzins Rs 1500 a month but made the payments nevertheless. “So the division bench felt it was nothing but squandering of public money,” he said.
Opposition leaders welcomed the court order saying it was a fitting reply to Mamata Banerjee’s vote bank politics. In the Assembly polls of 2011, the swing in the Muslim vote away from the Left and towards the Trinamool Congress is viewed as largely responsible for Ms Banerjee’s stunning victory.
The most favoured agenda of Congress government is now going to be followed in Maharashtra. The State government is thinking seriously to give salary to madrasa teachers. This scheme is introduced by State minority department in which Rs 10 crore financial support will be given to about 200 madrasas. 600 students will also be benefitted through scholarship. Additional allowances will be given to the teachers teaching Mathematics and science.
Such a decision taken by the West Bengal government was recently quashed by Calcutta High Court mentioning that it violates Article 14 & 15(1) of the Constitution. Same situation happened when Andhra Pradesh Government passed a resolution for 5 per cent reservation to minorities. It was also rejected by state High Court. Even after such decisions the Maharashtra government now strongly wants to introduce such a plan.