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Upananda Brahmachari | Calcutta High Court | 02 Sept 2013:: In a very stringent manner Hon’ble Calcutta High Court today rejected all orders and provisions for all unlawful matters in connection with Imam and Muezzin honorarium, issued by West Bengal Govt, only for appeasement policy of Smt. Mamata Banerjee (Islamically known as Mamtaz Banu Arjee), the one eyed Chief Minister, hungry after Muslim Vote Bank.
A division bench of Justice Pranab Kumar Chattopadhyay and Juartisce Murari Prasad Shrivastava gave the ruling while hearing a petition filed by Acharya Yogesh Shastri on behalf of Arya Samaj of Bengal unit [WP No. 9163 of 2012] and other petitions including a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party [WP No 358 of 2012].
The Calcutta High Court Monday declared the monthly allowances given to Imams at the rate of Rs 2500/- and muezzins at the rate of Rs 1000/- each by the West Bengal government as unconstitutional.
Actually, the erratic Govt of West Bengal was in mood to spend Rupees Eighty Four Crores every year for such appeasement policy for Muslim clerics ignoring a severe fiscal crisis in state economy.
A division bench of Justice Pranab Kumar Chattopadhyay and Juartisce Murari Prasad Shrivastava gave the ruling while hearing the petitions filed by different ends to oppose discriminatory Imam and Muezzin Bhatta (honorarium) given by West Bengal Govt. coming under a circumstances to appease the Muslim vote bank politics.
“The court declared the allowance as unconstitutional as it is violative of right to equality under Article 14 (of the constitution) and right against discrimination on grounds of religion, under Article 15,” the petitioners’ counsel said.
“The court said the allowance was violative of Article 282, as payments to the Imams and muezzins do not constitute a public purpose as envisaged by the article,” added counsel.
The court, however, has not ordered recovery of the allowances already paid. But, the designated bench ordered earlier to recover the honorarium already paid to the Muslim clerics subject the final decision of the court.
The Mamata Banerjee government April 2012 announced a monthly payment of Rs.2,500 to Imams or the clergy, and followed it up by fixing Rs.1,000 monthly for the muezzins, those who give the call for prayers at the mosques.
Discontent over the government announcement, Arya Samaj and others challenged its legality in Calcutta High Court.
Both the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Congress welcomed the court’s verdict, saying it has foiled the “state government’s move to discriminate between people on the basis of religion”.
However, a very communal Imam of city’s Tipu Sultan Mosque Maulana Syed Noor Ur Rehman Barkati termed the court’s verdict as “unfortunate”.
“It is an unfortunate verdict. Most of the Imams and muezzins in the state are poor, does the court want them to die of hunger? I believe along with Imams and muezzins, Hindu priests should also be paid the allowances. Their condition too is pitiable,” Barkati told the press.
In retaliation to the statement of Barkati, Acharya Yogesh Shastri, the spokesperson of Bangiya Arya Pratinidhi Sabha and one of the petitioners against Govt. to stop such discriminatory and unlawful honorarium to Muslim, told Hindu Existence that Imam Barkati is a very communal person and he has nothing to say anything about Hindu or Arya priests, whatsoever. He has no regards to Indian constitution or upon the verdict of Hon’ble Calcutta High Court in various matters including banning cow slaughters in West Bengal. Such persons are putting communal pressures on Mamata Banerjee to extracting undue reservation and facilities for Muslim people and making the environment so communal. Shastri opines that if Barkati wants to register him as an impartial and secular one, he must raise his voice for common civil code and denounce shariah law.
The panel of learned senior counsels and advocates viz. Mr Ashis Sanyal, Mr Saourav Guhathakurata and Mr Arnab Ray for Arya Samaj, Mr Kaushik Chandra for BJP and Mr Chittaranjan Panda for Brahman Samaj, fought gallantly to win this case defeating all hazards like the frequent change of benches and circumstantial hazards.
While Sri Ananda Arya, the President (Pradhan) of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Bengal, conveyed his gratitude to all concerned for this historic judgement in its positive end, the ex president and veteran leader of BJP advised Mamata Banerjee to stop his minority appeasement policy.
Sri Deendayal Gupta, the Gen Secretary (Mahamantri) of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha told Hindu Existence that Arya Samaj will fight legally in highest judicial forum, if this order of Hon’ble High Court would face any challenge to curb its spirit of equality and stopping extra administrative activism in the ambit of communal political goal.