The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition challenging the legality and the functioning of the PM Cares Fund. The court told the petitioner, Advocate Shashwat Anand to either withdraw the petition or face a fine imposed by the Top Court.
The bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai went on to dismiss the petition “as withdrawn” in the order.
The petition had challenged the legality of the PM Cares Fund and various CM Relief Funds stating that such funds cannot be set up by the Central or State Governments due to the existing National Disaster Response Fund and the State Disaster Response Funds. He also asked for all the money that was collected under the PM Cares Fund to the transferred to the NDRF and the SDRF.
Justice Ramana, heading the 3-judge bench pulled up the petitioner for filing frivolous litigation. The judge threatened the petitioner with a fine in case the petition was not withdrawn. “This petition has a political colour” Justice Ramana stated.
The PM Cares fund was floated on March 28 by the prime minister who appealed the citizens of the country to monetarily contribute towards this effort by making donations. Although there is already the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund where people can make donations, the union government has decided to set up a specific fund for Covid-19, due to the gravity of the situation posed by it. Contriversy soon followed as sections of the media and political opponents latched onto provisions that suggested that the PMCares fund was not to be audited by the CAG and was answerable only to the PM.
-India Legal Bureau