SC refuses to direct transfer of contributions made to PM CARES Fund for COVID-19 pandemic to National Disaster Response Fund.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to pass an order to the government to transfer the PM Cares fund money to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). The court, however, said that the government is “still free to transfer money if it seems appropriate”.
The top court’s judgment came while dismissing a petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan seeking the transfer of all the money collected under the PM CARES fund for the COVID-19 pandemic to the NDRF.
“Voluntary contribution can always be made to the NDRF as there is no statutory bar under the Disaster Management Act,” a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising justices R S Reddy and M R Shah said.
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.
The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund and the ministers of defence, home and finance are its ex-officio trustees.
The opposition, especially the Congress, has been alleging misuse of the money. Earlier in May, a case was registered against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Karnataka in connection with a tweet posted on the party’s official handle alleging misuse of PM CARES Fund. The case was registered under Sections 153 and 505 (1)(B) of the IPC, which relate to wantonly provoking people and inciting them to commit offence against any other class or community.