Thursday, February 9, 2023

Delhi High Court adjourns hearing on plea seeking clarity on legal status of PM Cares Fund

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The Delhi High Court on Monday adjourned its hearing till October 6 on a plea seeking clarity on the legal status of PM CARES Fund, including whether it falls within the category of ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution of India and periodic auditing of PM-CARES website and disclosure of the details of donations received by it, to ensure transparency and accountability. 

The Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh adjourned the matter, due to paucity of time.

Previously, the Centre had informed the Delhi High Court that PM-CARES Fund is not a government fund, as the amount collected by it does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India.

An affidavit filed by an Under Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stated that there is no control of either the Central Government or any State Government/s, either direct or indirect, in functioning of the Trust in any manner whatsoever.

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The Centre had further submitted that PM CARES Fund comprises of voluntary donations made by individuals and institutions and is not a part of business or function of the Central Government in any manner, furthermore, it is not a part of any Government Scheme or business of the Central Government and being a public trust, it is also not subject to audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

According to the submissions made by the Centre, PM CARES Fund is not a “public authority” under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, further clarifying that no government money is credited in the PM CARES Fund and only unconditional and voluntary contributions are accepted under the same.

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