New Delhi: The Supreme Court today ruled that the PM Cares funds need not be transferred to the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). The court was issuing judgment on a PIL which sought such a transfer.
The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash R. Reddy and M.R. Shah passed the order on a plea filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), seeking setting up of a National Plan under the Disaster Management Act (DM Act).
The petitioner organization had prayed that all present and future collections, contributions, and grants for the fight against COVID-19 should be credited towards the National Disaster Relief Fund in accordance with Section 46(1)(b) of the DM Act.
The bench, while passing the order, said that it had formulated 5 questions relating to the issue.
· Can the Centre formulate separate funds despite the NDRF being in place?
· Whether all contributions/grants should be credited to NDRF from PM cares?
· Whether the UoI is obliged to lay down a minimum standard of relief under the National Disaster Management Act?
· Whether there is a prohibition on contribution to the PM Cares fund?
· Whether all PM Cares Funds should be directed to NDRF.
The following are the answers provided by the bench.
· The plan which was prepared by the government under the NDRF was sufficient even for COVID.
Action plan under NDRF is sufficient, no fresh action plan needed for tackling COVID
· Any contribution/grant can be credited to NDRF. It’s open for anyone to contribute to NDRF as a voluntary contribution
· The minimum standard of relief under the National Disaster Management Act is sufficient.
· Open to anyone to contribute to PM Cares funds. No statutory prohibition in making any contribution by any person/institution to NDRF.
· The Centre can utilise NDRF funds for COVID relief
The bench had reserved its order July 27.
The CPIL had sought directions to the Union of India to prepare, notify and implement a National Plan under Section 11 read with Section 10 of the DM Act to deal with the current pandemic and to lay down minimum standards of relief, under Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to be provided to persons affected by the COVID-19 virus, as well as by the resultant national lockdown.
Read the Judgment here;12392-2020-35-1501-23456-Judgement-18-Aug-2020
–India Legal Bureau