On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court expressed strong disapproval of the Centre’s one-page response to a petition asking that the PM Cares Fund be legally recognized as a “State.” The High Court requested that the Centre submit a more thorough and thorough response to the petition, noting that the PM Cares Fund is “an important issue.”
“You’ve submitted a response. a one-page response to such a significant issue Nothing more, please? There is not the slightest hint of the petitioner’s arguments. The problem is not so cut and dried. You submit a retort. The bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad stated, “We want an extensive reply.”
The High Court set the matter for hearing on September 16 and ordered the government to submit a thorough response within four weeks.
The government’s Solicitor General (SG), Tushar Mehta, stated that the petitioner’s arguments should be considered when making a decision. The bench responded by saying that a thorough response must be submitted and a decision must be made regarding the pertinent issue. The court stated, “Let an adequate reply be filed as this will undoubtedly go before the supreme court and we have to conclude, give a ruling, and deal with the issue raised.”
Samyak Gangwal sought to have the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM Cares Fund) recognized as a “State” under Article 12 of the Indian Constitution in his petition, which was filed in 2021. Additionally, the petition demanded that the PM Cares website periodically post its audit reports. Prior to that, the High Court had given the Center notice regarding the petition.
The Centre claimed that the Trust Fund does not fall under the Consolidated Fund of India and is not a Government of India Fund in a brief response to the petition submitted last year. No information about third parties may be disclosed under section 8 in general or the provisions of subsections [e] and [j], in particular, regardless of whether the Trust is a “State” or other authority under Article 12 of the Indian Constitution or whether it is a “public authority” as defined by section 2[h] of the RTI Act. In his response to the petition, Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, the Under Secretary at the PMO, stated.
The petitioner’s attorney Shyam Divan claimed that the Centre hasn’t even decided which file to respond in, and he cited several errors in the PMO’s response, which Solicitor General Tushar Mehta dismissed as typos. I have seen it, so a proper and thorough response is required, Chief Justice Sharma said.
The PM CARES Fund was established by the Prime Minister in March 2020 for the honorable purpose of assisting citizens in the wake of the COVID outbreak, and it was the beneficiary of sizable donations, according to the petition submitted by Gangwal.
However, the petition notes that a copy of the Trust Deed, which states that it was not created by or under the Constitution of India, any law passed by the Parliament, or any State Legislature, was made public by the PMCARES Fund in December 2020 on its website.
“It is doubtful that a Fund, a) which has been established by the Prime Minister of India, (b) whose Trustees are the Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Home Minister, and the Finance Minister of India, and (c) which has its office at Prime Minister’s Office South Block, New Delhi-110011, has been alleged to be a fund over which there is no Government Control,” the petition said.