PM-CARES FUND AND PMNRF
- The PM CARES fund is a public charitable trust, with the Prime Minister as its Chairman and is set up by the Government to deal with any kind of emergency or distress situation.
- The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is also under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister and the resources of the PMNRF are utilized primarily to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities.
- Both these funds were recently flooded by charities made by the people of India and across the globe to help the Government in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
PLEA BEFORE ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT
- A similar plea was filed before the Allahabad High Court that also challenged the constitutionality of the PM CARES Fund and PMNRF.
- The Division Bench of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Shamim Ahmed dismissed the plea on the grounds that the same matter was already covered by the Supreme Court in Centre for Public Interest Litigation v. Union of India.
- The petitioner has approached the Supreme Court through a Special Leave Petition against the dismissal by Allahabad HC and challenges the constitutional validity of PM CARES Fund and PMNRF.
CONTENTIONS IN THE PETITION
- Firstly, the plea states that the HC errored while dismissing the plea on the ground that the matter covered in Public Interest Litigation v. Union of India was the same as the present case and was also wrong in concluding that PM CARES fund does not receive any support from the budget or government money.
- The plea contended that funds from indirect and direct taxes, Election Commission of India, and several ministries were being poured into PM CARES Fund.
- The plea prayed before the Court that there should be disclosure and publication of details of accounts and expenditures of both the funds and the money collected under both the funds should be transferred to NDRF.
- It is also contended that the PM CARES Fund is non-transparent as it is outside the purview of the Right to Information Act and contrary to Fundamental Rights enshrined under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution.
- The plea had sought the direction of the Court to audit the PM CARES Fund by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
What do you think about PM CARES Fund and PMNRF? Do you think they should be brought under RTI Act and made public?