New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday set December 10, for hearing on petitions relating to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund).
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh allowed applications seeking an early hearing of the petitions.
Earlier, the matter was scheduled to be heard on November 18, but the concerned bench did not assemble so the matter got adjourned.
The Court was hearing petitions filed by Samyak Gangwal, who sought to declare the PM CARES Fund a ‘State’ under the Constitution. The petitioner has also sought direction to restrain PM CARES FUND from using Prime Minister of India or Prime Minister including its abbreviations in its name and on its website, trust deed and other officials/ unofficial communications and advertisements.
He also sought to restrain the PM CARES FUND from using the State Emblem of India on its website, Trust Deed, other officials/ unofficial communications and advertisements.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), in response to the petition, said that the PM CARES Fund is not a fund of the Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India.
“It is reiterated that the Trust’s fund is not a fund of Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India,” said an affidavit filed by PMO.
PMO also said that PM Cares Trust 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.
“I state that the Trust functions with transparency and its funds are audited by an auditor who is a Chartered Accountant drawn from the panel prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India,” said the affidavit filed by an Under-Secretary at the PMO.
The affidavit further added that to ensure transparency, the audited report is put on the official website of the Trust along with the details of utilization of funds received by the Trust.
Adding further, Centre said that the Trust functions on the principles of transparency and public good in larger public interest like any other charitable trust and, therefore, cannot have any objection in uploading all its resolutions on its website to ensure transparency.
Such a prayer is not only unheard of but is legally not maintainable, the Centre said while urging the Delhi High Court to dismiss the petition.
In another petition, Gangwal has challenged the decision of the Central Public Information Officer, Prime Minister’s Office wherein the RTI application seeking documents related to the PM Cares Fund Fund was denied. Gangwal has filed its petition through advocates Debopriyo Moulik and Ayush Shrivastava.