SC dismisses plea against PM CARES fund

On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea that challenged the legality of the PM CARES Fund’s constitution.
Advocate ML Sharma had filed the PIL or Public Interest Litigation, saying that the authority to form contingency relief funds lies with the Parliament only.
The hearing was conducted through video conferencing. The bench termed the PIL as “misconceived” and dismissed it.
Notably, the PIL has made PM Modi and all the trustees of the fund parties to it. The litigation also sought a court-monitored SIT investigation into the creation of the dedicated fund.
“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,” as per the PIL.
“Impugned trust has not either been created by Parliament/state legislator within Article 267,” the PIL said.
“It is neither passed by Parliament nor approved by the President of India. There is no ordinance/gazette notification in this regard,” it added.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the ex-officio chairman of the fund.
• Defense, Home, and Finance ministers are its ex-officio trustees.
PM Modi has said the fund would benefit the “poorest of the poor” besides strengthening disaster management. Several Bollywood actors, cricketers, and prominent entrepreneurs and businessmen have pledged to support this fund. Tata Sons and Tata Trusts, for instance, contributed Rs 1,500 crore together, while RIL has announced a Rs 500 crore donation towards PM-CARES.
According to the officials, the government has stipulated that this fund will be audited by qualified auditors who will be appointed by the Trustees.
Earlier, Sonia Gandhi also suggested the ruling government to transfer all money under ‘PM Cares’ fund to the PM-NRF (Prime Ministers National Relief Fund), to ensure efficiency, transparency, accountability and audit in the manner in the allocation and expenditure of funds. According to Mrs. Gandhi, the creation of PM CARES is a waste of effort and resources.
Sitaram Yechury from CPI(M) has also questioned the need for the PM–CARES fund and its transparency.
Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan labeled the “PM CARES fund” as the “blatant self-promotion attempt” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Also, fraudsters and hackers are using fake links to cheat people in the name of online coronavirus donations to the PM-CARES (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund.

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