On March 28, the Centre set up the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation like the one currently posed by the coronavirus 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.
The Supreme Court would hear public interest litigation seeking quashing of the Centre’s decision to set up the PM CARES Fund to deal with the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, where citizens can donate money, on Monday.
The PIL, which has made all the trustees of the fund as well as the prime minister parties to it, has sought a transfer of the donations received so far in the fund to the Consolidated Fund of India, besides a court-monitored SIT probe into the setting up of the fund. It said the trust had to be created in accordance with Articles 267 and 266(2), which deal with the contingency and Consolidated Funds of India, of the Constitution.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices L Nageswara Rao and MM Shantanagoudar would hear the PIL filed by lawyer M L Sharma against the setting up of the PM CARES Fund through video-conferencing. ‘That cause of action arose to the petitioner on March 28, upon having press release for the formation of impugned PM CARES Fund and appeal by the Prime Minister of India to donate funds in that trust to fight COVID-19 and aid healthcare in future without any ordinance and gazette notification by the Government of India,’ the PIL petition said.
“Impugned trust has not either been created by Parliament/state legislator within Art 267. It is neither passed by Parliament nor approved by the President of India. There is no ordinance/gazette notification in this regard,” the PIL said. reports PTI