PM Cares Fund Not Govt Fund, Functions With Transparency: Centre To Delhi HC

Image Credit: Hindustan Times

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PM Cares Fund Not Govt Fund, Functions With Transparency: Centre To Delhi HC

The Centre has informed the Delhi High Court that the PM CARES Fund is "not a fund of Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India".

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The Centre has informed the Delhi High Court that the PM CARES Fund is "not a fund of Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India". An affidavit filed by an Under Secretary at Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said the PM CARES Fund is a charitable trust not created by or under the Constitution of India or by any law made by the Parliament or by any state legislature.

He added that the trust functions with transparency and its funds are audited by an auditor, a chartered accountant drawn from the panel prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. To ensure transparency, the audited report is put on the official website of the trust along with the details of its utilisation. The affidavit submission was made in response to a petition that seeks PM-CARES Fund to be declared as 'The State' under Article 12 of the Constitution.

The plea contends that citizens of the country are aggrieved that a fund set up by the Prime Minister and with trustees like the PM and ministers of Home, Defence and Finance has been declared to be a fund over which there is no government control.

"When the petitioner is claiming to be a public-spirited person and seeking to pray for various reliefs only for transparency, it does not matter whether PM CARES is a "State" within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India," the Centre said.

The Centre, additionally, said the PM CARES functions on the principles of transparency and public good in larger public interest like any other charitable trust and does not have any objection in uploading all its resolutions on its website to ensure transparency.

Donations Are Done Through Various Mediums

It said all donations received by the trust are through online payments, cheques and or demand drafts and the received amount is audited and the expenditure of the trust fund displayed on the website. Pradeep Kumar Srivastav, an Under Secretary at PMO, said, "In view of the specific provisions of Section 8 of the Right to Information Act, the relief against para 5.3 of the trust deed dated 27.3.2020 pales into insignificance."
Samyak Gangwal filed a petition stating the PM-CARES fund was started in March 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic for a noble cause. However, the plea said, a copy of the trust deed was released by the PM-CARES Fund on its website in December 2020, according to which it is not created by or under the Constitution or by any law made by Parliament.

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