Plea in Delhi HC seeking directions to get PM CARES under RTI Act

This plea was filed in response to the PMO denying information on the fund saying that it does not come under RTI Act

PM care

A plea has been filed in Delhi High Court seeking a direction to the trustees of Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund to display on its website the amount collected so far and how the fund has been utilized.

This plea was filed in the backdrop of the prime Minister’s Office (PMO) responding to an RTI application that PM CARES fund does not come under the purview of Right to Information Act (RTI Act) as it is not a public authority. The petitioner contended that any body owned, controlled substantially financed by the government qualifies as public authority under the RTI Act and PM CARES fund is controlled by the government. This is proved by the declaration made on the PM CARES website which states as follows:

Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund. The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees (Prime Minister) shall have the power to nominate three trustees to the Board of Trustees who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy.

The plea further states that even if PM CARES is not deemed to be a public authority, under Article 19(1)(a) the people have a fundamental right to know about the source of funds and details of their expenditure. The plea also questions that if the PM CARES fund is not a public authority, then why were government agencies, public servants etc. being prompted to contribute to the fund, which is now opaque.

The plea also states that the people affected with COVID19, who desperately are in need of these funds to fight the pandemic, have every right to know how much money has been collected by the fund and how the same has been spent or is planned to be spent. Further it is also contended that the reluctance in divulging the information raised some serious apprehension on the management of the fund. The matter is likely to be taken up for hearing on June 10.

The Supreme Court has previously dismissed two petitions challenging the validity of the PM CARES fund. A petition is pending before the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court seeking transparency and an audit of the fund by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.


Bombay HC’s Nagpur bench refuses to dismiss petition seeking CAG audit of PM CARES, issues notice

PM CARES not Public Authority says PMO, in response to RTI query



Related Articles