Monday, September 26, 2022

Supreme Court rejects SLP challenging legality of PM CARES Fund

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The Supreme Court on Friday, while quashed a special leave petition (SLP), challenging the legality of the PM CARES (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance & Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund.

A Bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai, while upholding the Allahabad High Court order on the matter, orally allowed the petitioner to withdraw the plea and approach the High Court by way of a review petition.

Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat, representing the petitioner, submitted that some points have not been dealt with by the High Court.

The appeal challenged the dismissal of a PIL by the Allahabad High Court, which challenged the legal validity of the PM CARES Fund and the Prime Minister National Relief Fund in the backdrop of the Disaster Management Act.

It contended that the Fund was established without passing any legislation to that effect, and that it was kept beyond the scrutiny of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

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The plea further alleged that the PM CARES Fund weakened the Disaster Management Act.

It also alleged that contributions from various ministries, agencies and departments of the government flow into the Fund without tax, almost on a regular basis.

The plea sought the Apex Court to grant ex-parte ad interim order, direction or writ, directing the Respondent no. 1 to make full disclosure of the statement of accounts, activity and expenditure details of the PM-CARES Fund to this Court and to the public at large, desirably, by publishing the aforesaid details, upon the Government website for all to see, and the accounts to be updated regularly, from time to time.

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It also demanded audit of the PM-CARES Fund by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and publishing Audit-Report thereof (in the same way, as is done of other Government funds), from time to time, until the disposal of this writ petition, otherwise the entire nation and the petitioner shall be put to great hardships and irreparable loss.

Advocate-On-Record Amit Pai filed the plea with Advocates Rajesh Inamdar, Shashwat Anand, Jawed Ur Rehman, Ashutosh Mani Tripathi, Syed Ahmed Faizan, and Kumail Haider.

Case name: Divya Pal Singh vs Union of India

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