An affidavit in the Delhi High Court has said that the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Emergency Relief Fund ‘PM CARES’ is not a fund of the Government of India and the money collected on its behalf does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India. The Under Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), working on an honorary basis in the PM Cares Trust, has said that the trust works with transparency and the auditor audits its funds. This auditor is a Chartered Accountant on a panel prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. This petition has been filed by Samyak Gangwal. In this, it has been requested to direct the PM Cares Fund to be declared as a ‘state’ under the Constitution, so that transparency can be ensured in its functioning. In response to this petition, this affidavit has been filed. A bench of Delhi High Court Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Amit Bansal has fixed September 27 for further hearing in the matter. “In order to ensure transparency, the audit report along with the details of utilization of funds received by the trust is put up on its official website,” said the affidavit filed by Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Under Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. The official said, ‘I say that when the petitioner is claiming to be a person working for public welfare and wants to request for all the reliefs only for the sake of transparency, then it does not matter that PM Cares India’s Whether a ‘State’ is within the definition of Article 12 of the Constitution.’ It states that even if the trust is a ‘state’ or other authority under the definition given in Article 12 of the Constitution or a ‘public authority’ within the definition of the provisions of the Right to Information Act (RTI), even then Disclosure of third party information is not allowed. It states that all donations received on behalf of the trust are received through online payment, check or demand draft and the amount received is audited and its report and expenses of the trust are displayed on the website. Is. “The Trust, like any other charitable trust, works on the principles of transparency and public good in the larger public interest and therefore has no objection in uploading all its proposals on its website to ensure transparency,” the affidavit said. Could be.’ It reiterated, ‘The Fund of the Trust is not a fund of the Government of India and the amount does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India’. The official said that he is discharging his functions on an honorary basis in the PM Cares Fund, which is a charitable trust and has not been created by or under the Constitution or by any law made by Parliament or any State Legislature. . “Despite being an officer of the Central Government, I am allowed to discharge my functions in the PM Cares Trust on honorary basis,” he said. Samyak Gangwal’s petition states that the PM CARES Fund is a ‘state’ as it was created by the Prime Minister on March 27, 2020, to provide assistance to the citizens of India in the wake of COVID-19. His lawyer had told the court that if it is found that the PM Cares Fund is not a ‘state’ under the Constitution, then the use of the domain name ‘gov’, picture of the prime minister, emblem of the state etc. has to be stopped. It has been said in the petition that the trustees of the fund are the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, the Home Minister and the Finance Minister.
[Attribution to NBT]