Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking the transfer of money in PM CARES FUND to the NATIONAL DISASTER RELIEF FUND (NDRF). The SC said that a fresh national disaster plan for coronavirus COVID-19 is not needed and observed that funds collected in the PM CARE fund are charitable trust.
The please was filed by an NGO seeking a direction from the court to the government to transfer all contributions from the PM CARES Fund to the NDRF as part of the national plan to fight COVID.
“The PM Cares fund is valid as a public charitable fund. There is no need to transfer all contributions to NDRF,” the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising justices RS Reddy and MR Shah said that voluntary contribution can always be made to the NDRF as there is no statutory bar under the Disaster Management Act.
The Supreme Court also noted, “The National Disaster Management plan created in November 2019 is enough to tackle COVID-19. No need to create a fresh action plan or separate minimum standards of care.”
The NDRF is a statutory fund created under Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), had claimed that PM CARES Fund was set up in violation of the legal mandate under the Disaster Management Act as per which any grant made by any person or institution for disaster management should be compulsorily credited to NDRF.
The Centre had on March 28 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 COVID-19 outbreak and provide relief to those affected.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioner NGO, had said that they are not doubting the bonafide of anyone but the creation of the PM CARES Fund is allegedly in contravention of provisions of the Disaster Management Act.
The prime minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund and the ministers of defense, home and finance are its ex-officio trustees.