SC rejects plea seeking transfer of PM CARES Funds to NDRF, calls it ‘entirely different money’

Srinagar: The Supreme Court of India, on Tuesday, rejected the plea by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) named Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), seeking direct transfer of the money contributed to the PM CARES Fund for the pandemic, to National Disaster Response Fund.

On hearing the petition, the top court’s verdict delivered through video-conferencing said that the funds from PM CARES need not be transferred as it is “entirely different” money.

The three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, MR Shah and R Subhash Reddy argued that the money collected under the PM CARES Fund for the coronavirus pandemic were those of charitable trusts and “entirely different.”

It said the government is ready to transfer the money to the disaster response fund only if it sees fit. It further said that any contribution or grant can be credited to the NDRF and anyone can make a voluntary contribution.

The petition, on the other hand, read that the PM CARES Fund violates the provisions of the Disaster Management Act.

However, the Court has refused to give such an instruction to the government of India.

“There is no need for a new plan and that one under the National Disaster Management Act is enough to deal with COVID-19,” a Delhi based news organisation NDTV quoted SC as having said.

Soon after the announcement, Union Minister of India, Jitendra Singh took to his Twitter handle and wrote: “Supreme Court of India upholds the validity of #PMCaresFund. Refuses to instruct government to transfer fund to NDRF. Hope that should send out a message… loud and clear.”

Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said that it is unfortunate that SC is allowing the PM Fund scheme as a secret trust to fetch money in the name of COVID relief.

“Unfortunate that the SC allows the non-transparent & unaccountable PM-Cares fund set up as a secret trust to garner money in the name of Covid relief, rather than transferring such funds to the Statutory NDRF which is accessible under RTI & audited by CAG,” Bhushan tweeted.

It is pertinent to mention that Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund was set up by the government of India on March, to deal with the emergency situations and provide relief to those affected.


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