Court orders Darjeeling DM to stop disbursing Union fund for development of minorities

The Calcutta High Court today issued an interim order restraining the district magistrate of Darjeeling from disbursing funds it had received from the Union government recently for development of minorities in three sub divisions of hills till further orders.

Bengal Attempts to Supersede GTA by Disbursing Funds via DM Thwarted - High Court Puts A Stay Order on It
Bengal Attempts to Supersede GTA by Disbursing Funds via DM Thwarted – High Court Puts A Stay Order on It

The state government was directed by Mr Justice Nadira Pathrya of the Calcutta High Court today not to make any more disbursal from the funds allotted by the Union government in June for madrassas in Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) area.

If any amount had been disnursed out of these funds, then the state was directed to give an account of it and give a report to the court, it was further directed.

“If the DM had already disburse the amount in the meantime, the state would have to submit a report before this court stating how much money had already been allocated and to whom. If the amount is still lying with the district magistrate (DM) of Darjeeling, the state would have to ask him the not disburse further amount to any body or any organisation till court orders for it,” Justice Nadira Patherya said.

The judge fixed December 2 for hearing the case in detail and asked the state to file its affidavit in this regard.

Today’s interim order followed a petition by the GTA, which had challenged the legality of the state government’s decision to hand over Rs 7 crore, which it received from the central government in June, for the development of minorities in hills areas, to the district magistrate of Darjeeling.

Moving the petition for the GTA, advocates Joydeep Kar and Ayanava Raha told the court: “The state government had received a grant of Rs 7 crore on June 10 this year for the development of minorities and madarsas in the hills. According to the Gorkha Territorial Administration Act, 2011, development of minorities in the hills should be controlled and supervised by the GTA.”

The GTA counsel said: “It is also mentioned in the act that any fund, allocated either by the state or centre for development of minorities would be controlled by the GTA and not by the state.”

Both the lawyers said the state authorities had handed over the fund to district magistrate and by the act it had violated the provisions of the GTA Act.

The GTA lawyer sought for an order asking the state to hand over the fund to GTA.

The state government pleader, Abharatosh Majumdar, said: “Since the fund was allocated five months back, we have no idea whether the DM had already disbursed the amount in the meanwhile.”

Hearing both the sides, the judge passed the order.

Arun Sigchi, a GTA Sabha member in charge of the minority welfare department, said: “The minority welfare department is a transferred subject to the GTA and accordingly we had pursued with the centre to declare the eight hill blocks as multi sectorial development block.”

The GTA said that following the hill body’s demand, a standing committee visited the area and ultimately the Centre declared six blocks, expect for Mirik and Bijanbari blocks as multi-sectorial development blocks.

“We then pursued the matter with the Centre and submitted a number of schemes and accordingly, the Centre granted a sum of Rs 23 crore to undertake projects in the first phase,” Sigchi said.

“However, the state government violated all norms and transferred the schemes to the fund under the district magistrate,” said Sigchi.

Source: Telegraph

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