Governance

’PM-CARES is not a fund of any govt, it is like a charitable trust and can’t be brought under RTI’: PMO tells Delhi HC

There is no control of Central or State govts in the functioning of PM CARES funds said the PMO in an affidavit filed in response to a petition demanding transparency of the funds being used.

The PM CARES Fund is not a Government of India fund and the amount collected by it does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India, the Delhi High Court has been informed.

An affidavit filed by an Under Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) who is discharging his functions in the PM Cares Trust on honorary basis, has said 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 utilisation of funds received by the trust, says the affidavit filed by Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Under Secretary at the PMO. I state that 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 officer said in the affidavit.

On merits, the Fund reiterates that it is not “public authority” within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act inasmuch as the mandatory statutory

The officer said he is discharging his functions in the PM Cares Trust on honorary basis which is a charitable trust not created by or under the Constitution or by any law made by the Parliament or by any State legislature.

The development comes in plea seeking declaration that PM CARES Fund is “State” under Article 12 of the Constitution. The Petitioner, Samayak Gangwal

It may be noted that the PM-CARES fund was created by the Prime Minister of India on March 27, 2020 to extend assistance to the people in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, it faced a lot of resistance from activists, lawyers and the political parties who had questioned the transparency of the donations.

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