PM CARES Fund Not a Government Body: PMO

PMO informs Delhi High Court that it is not controlled by either Central or State governments; proceeds do not go to the Consolidated Fund of India

Live Law

The Prime Minister’s Office has presented an affidavit in the Delhi High Court claiming that has not been set up by an Indian Law under the constitution, Order, or Statute. It is a public charitable trust and the amount received as part of the Trust does not go to the Consolidated Trust of India.

The affidavit has been filed in response to a plea seeking a declaration of the Fund as “State” under Article 12 of the constitution. A bench of Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Amit Bansal has fixed the matter for further hearing on September 27.

The petitioner, Samyak Gangwal also challenged PMO for rejecting his RTI Application, stating that PM CARES was not a “public authority” within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act. In its reply, the PM CARES Fund has stated in response that the necessary statutory requirements do not exist within this regard.

The affidavit also states that the amounts received are sent on a voluntary basis and only by the fact that government officials make ex gratia payments to the Fund does not ensure its governmental status.

Similarly, the composition of the board of trustees and government officers providing honourary assistance does not make the fund owned by the government.

It also added that the mere grant of tax exemptions also does not determine the government’s statutory ownership and involvement in the procedure.

It stated that Trust functions with transparency and its funds are audited by an auditor who is a Chartered Accountant drawn from the panel prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India