Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 18
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL in search of switch of cash collected below the PM CARES Fund for the COVID-19 pandemic to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
A Bench, led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, dominated that PM CARES fund needn’t be transferred to NDRF. It’s open to anybody to contribute to PM Cares Fund, it mentioned.
The plan ready by the federal government below NDRF was enough even for COVID-19, it mentioned, including the motion plan below NDRF was enough and no recent motion plan for tackling COVID-19 was required.
It mentioned the Centre can utilise the NDRF fund for COVID-19 reduction.
“Any contribution or grant can be credited to NDRF. It’s open for anyone to contribute to NDRF as voluntary contributions”, the highest court docket mentioned, including there was no statutory prohibition to creating a contribution to NDRF by any particular person or establishment.
The Supreme Court had on July 27 reserved its order on a PIL in search of switch of cash collected below the PM CARES Fund for the COVID-19 pandemic to NDRF.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the Bench that the PM CARES Fund is a “voluntary fund” whereas funds to the NDRF and SDRF are made obtainable via budgetary allocations.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing petitioner Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), had mentioned the NGO did not doubt the bona fides of anybody however the creation of the PM CARES Fund violated provisions of the National Disaster Management Act.
He had claimed the NDRF was being audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) however the authorities has mentioned the audit of the PM CARES Fund will likely be carried out by non-public auditors.
The Centre has been defending PM Cares Funds, saying the existence of National Disaster Relief Fund did not prohibit the institution of a brand new fund.
In an affidavit filed within the prime court docket final month, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had mentioned PM CARES Find offered for voluntary donations to be made to it and there was no must switch donations acquired in a single fund to a different.
The Supreme Court had on June 17 issued discover to the Centre and sought to know if a National Plan below NDMA had been framed or not.
The petitioner had alleged that the Centre was not divulging details about particular utilization of crores of rupees acquired within the PM CARES Fund until date.
But the MHA mentioned, “There are several funds which are either established earlier or now for carrying out various relief works. PM Cares is one such fund with voluntary donations. The mere existence of a statutory fund would not prohibit in the creation of a different fund like PM Cares Fund which provides for voluntary donations.”
To the petitioner’s demand for switch of cash from PM CARES Fund to NDRF account, the MHA mentioned such a prayer was not maintainable below Article 32 of the Constitution “as all funds other than the funds stipulated under Section 46 of Disaster Management Act, 2005, are separate, different and distinct created under separate provisions.”
The MHA affidavit additionally questioned the petitioner’s motive behind submitting the PIL, saying it had been solely coping with submitting PILs for the reason that idea of PIL originated.
An empowered group fashioned by the federal government was working intently with 92,000 real NGOs throughout India to chart out the perfect course of the response, it submitted.
To petitioner’s demand for a getting ready a nationwide plan in session with the state governments and consultants, the MHA mentioned, at present, there was no such nationwide plan in place to take care of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic regardless that the identical had been notified as a ‘disaster’ and quite a few notifications are being issued to include the identical below the DM Act.