Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Supreme Court dismisses plea challenging the creation of PM CARES fund

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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging the constitution of Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situation Fund (PM-CARES) being violative of various provisions of the Constitution of India.

The case was heard by the bench comprising of Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar observed that the petition filed by the petitioner is a misconceived petition and required its outright dismissal.

Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma petitioner in persons said that short question is that a fund can be created as per the provisions under Article 266 and 267 by Parliament or state legislature. There is no notification or ordinance. Chief Justice of India remarked that this is a misconceived petition. This is not about collection of revenue.

On March 28, the Centre set up the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation like the one currently posed by the outbreak of COVID-19 and provide relief to those affected by it. The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund and the Defence, Home and Finance ministers are its ex-officio trustees.

The petition stated that “Cause of action arose to the Petitioner on March 28, upon having press release for the formation of impugned PM CARES Fund and appeal by the Prime Minister of India to donate funds in that trust to fight COVID-19 and aid healthcare in future without any ordinance and gazette notification by the Government of India”

The PIL, which has made all the trustees of the fund as well as the prime minister parties to it, has sought a transfer of the donations received so far in the fund to the Consolidated Fund of India, besides a court-monitored SIT probe into the setting up of the fund.

It said the trust had to be created in accordance with Articles 267 and 266(2), which deal with the contingency and Consolidated Funds of India, of the Constitution.

The PIL also mentioned that “Impugned trust has not either been created by Parliament/state legislator within Art 267. It is neither passed by Parliament nor approved by the President of India. There is no ordinance/gazette notification in this regard,”

The Supreme Court while dismissing the PIL warned the petitioner by saying that, “We will impose cost on you as this is a misconceived petition.  Don’t argue.”

-India Legal Bureau

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