Is the PMCARES Fund using the national emblem illegally?

Activist Saket Gokhale writes to Home Secretary seeking prosecution sanction against the non-government organisation for misusing State Emblem of India

PM care fund

On December 17, RTI activist Saket Gokhale wrote to Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla seeking prosecution sanction to initiate proceedings against Pradeep Kumar Srivastava who is the Under Secretary (Funds) in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and one of the officials responsible for handling the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PMCARES) Fund.

Gokhale wants to initiate action against Srivastava and others handling the fund under provisions of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005. Gokhale’s letter quotes from the trust deed of PM CARES fund that says, “This trust is not created under the Constitution of India or by any law made by Parliament or by any State Legislature.” It adds, “There is no control of either the Central Government or any State Government/s, either direct or indirect in functioning of the Trust in any matter whatsoever.”

This passage is what Gokhale is using as the basis for challenging the usage of the national emblem that as per law may only be used by official government entities for official government purposes.

In a Facebook post, Gokhale explained, “I’ve asked the Home Ministry for prosecution sanction against PMO officials for illegal use of the National Emblem in PM CARES logo violating Sec. 3 of The State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005. PM CARES, as a non-govt entity, CANNOT use it.” Gokhale added, “Prior prosecution sanction is required under the Act before I go to court. The Ministry, if it denies it, has to give adequate grounds for refusal. I’ll then still go to court & file a writ petition.”

Gokhale’s entire letter may be read here:

saket gokhale



It is noteworthy that, the PMCARES Fund was set up on March 28, 2020, with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation like the one currently posed by the Covid-19 outbreak and provide relief to those affected. The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund and the defence, home and finance ministers are its ex-officio trustees.

An RTI application seeking the trust deed of the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund elicited a response from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stating that the trust fund is not a public authority. The RTI application was filed by Harsha Kandukuri, a student of LLM at Azim Premji University had sought copies of the trust deed and all government orders, circulars and notifications related to its creation and functioning.

The Fund has been the subject of several court cases. A petition at the Delhi High Court seeks to bring PM CARES under the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) so that all the information such as amount collected, utilised can be readily available for the public at large. Another petition at Delhi High Court has challenged the rejection of information on PM CARES fund by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) in response to an RTI application.

In May 2020, a petition was filed before the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court seeking an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) into the PMCARES Fund. In June, a public Interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions that the Centre transfers all contributions of the PM CARES Fund to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) and that it formulates a National Plan as per the Disaster Management Act. This petition was dismissed by the SC in August.



Plea in Bombay HC seeks CAG audit of PM CARES fund  

Plea in SC demanding transfer of funds from PM CARES to NDRF

Appellate Authority also says PM CARES not public authority

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



Related Articles