The Supreme Court on August 18 said that funds collected under the PM CARES Fund for the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be transferred to National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). The top court stated that the funds collected by the PM Cares Fund are entirely different and that these funds are of charitable trusts.
The Supreme Court on August 18 rejected a petition filed by an NGO seeking transfer of contributions in PM CARES Fund to National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
The court noted: "The National Disaster Management plan created in November, 2019 is enough to tackle Covid-19. No need to create fresh action plan or separate minimum standards of care."
The NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), had claimed that PM CARES Fund was set up in violation of the legal mandate under the Disaster Management Act as per which any contribution made by any individual or institution for disaster management should be compulsorily credited to NDRF.
Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund was created by the centre on March 28, 2020 to tackle any emergency situation similar to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic 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 ex-officio trustees.
The legal validity and the transparency of the fund has been questioned time and again by citizens and the opposition. Many have questioned why the fund is not under the audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
Several concerns have also been raised over CSR (corporate social responsibility) benefits denied to contributions to state disaster relief funds.