Government responds to petition seeking declaration of PM Care Fund as ‘State’ as per Article 12 of the Constitution
Under the Prime Minister’s Civil Aid and Emergency Relief Fund (PM-Care Fund) Act, the Charity Trust has told the Delhi High Court that the Trust’s fund is not a Government of India fund and does not go to India’s Consolidated Fund. The Delhi High Court had directed the Center to state its position on the petition seeking declaration of PM Care Fund as a ‘state’ under Article 12 of the Constitution.
It states, “Regardless of whether a trust is a state or other authority in the sense of Article 12 of the Constitution of India or a public authority in the sense of Section 2 (h) of the Right to Information Act, the provisions contained in Section 8 and subsections (e) and (j) in general “In particular, the Right to Information Act does not allow the disclosure of third party information,” said Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office.
The statement was filed on a petition seeking declaration of PM-Care Fund as a ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution. The petition alleges that it is a fund set up by trustees such as the prime minister and home ministers, defense and finance ministers, over which there is no government control.
On this, Srivastava told the court that he works in the trust on an honorary basis and the trust works in a transparent manner. Its funds are audited by a Chartered Accountant from a panel constituted by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. “To bring transparency, the audited report is posted on the trust’s official website with details of the use of funds received by the trust,” Srivastava said. All donations to the trust are made through online payments, checks and demand drafts. The amount received is audited and the expenditure of the trust fund is displayed on the website.
Samyak Gangwal had filed a petition in this regard. The PM-Care Fund was set up by the Prime Minister in March 2020 with the noble intention of helping the people in the wake of the Kovid-19 epidemic and has received a large number of donations. A copy of the trust deed, released by the PM-Care Fund on its website in December 2020, states that it was not created by the Constitution or any law enacted by Parliament.