Thursday, February 9, 2023

PM-CARES Fund is not a government fund, Centre tells Delhi High Court

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The Centre has informed the Delhi High Court that the 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 stated there is no control of either the Central Government or any State Government/s, either direct or indirect, in the functioning of the Trust in any manner whatsoever.

The Centre further submitted that the 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 Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

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

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On Wednesday, the High Court adjourned the PIL due to paucity of time. Petitioner Samyak Gangwal has sought clarity on the legal status of the 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 matter was listed in Division-Bench-I of Chief Justice D.N Patel and Justice Amit Bansal.

The matter is listed for further hearing on September 27.


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