Supreme Court refuses to direct transfer of contributions made to PM CARES to disaster fund
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition by an NGO seeking transfer of contributions in PM CARES Fund to National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
The NDRF is a statutory fund created under Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The court held that individual and organisations are free to contribute to NDRF and there is no prohibition on the same. However, PM CARES is a separate fund established as a public charitable trust and no direction can be issued to transfer funds from that to NDRF, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan ruled.
While disposing of the petition, the court said that there is no need for fresh national disaster relief plan.
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 the purpose of disaster management should be compulsorily credited to NDRF.
The PM CARES Fund was set up by the central government on March 28 as a public charitable trust with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation such as that posed by Covid-19 pandemic.
The central government had rebutted this argument stating in its affidavit before the top court on July 8 that the PM CARES is a fund established to carry out relief work and there are several such funds established on similar lines in the past.
During the hearing before the apex court, the central government through solicitor general Tushar Mehta, had defended the PM CARES Fund saying that it was not intended to circumvent the NDRF as alleged by the petitioners.