Delhi HC seeks response from PMO on PIL to declare PM Cares Fund as 'State'

Delhi HC seeks response from PMO on PIL to declare PM Cares Fund as 'State'

New Delhi (IANS):

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought a detailed response from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on a plea seeking a declaration that the PM CARES Fund is a ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution. The court’s direction was following a one-page affidavit response filed by the PMO secretary.

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A division bench presided over by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad asked the Centre to file a 'detailed and exhaustive' reply to the public interest litigation (PIL).
“Only one page reply to such an important issue?” the bench orally remarked during the course of the hearing saying, “We need a proper reply. The issue isn't that simple. We need an exhaustive reply.”
Appearing for the petitioner Samyak Gangwal, senior advocate Shyam Divan said that the Fund is 'State' within the meaning of Constitution of India and that any fund created by constitutional functionaries cannot be contracted out of the Constitution. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre, submitted that a detailed response will be filed within four weeks. The matter will be further heard on September 16.

The court was hearing a petition seeking a declaration that the fund is "state" under Article 12 of the Constitution and to restrain it from using Prime Minister of India or Prime Minister, including its abbreviations, in its name and on its website.

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According to the Centre's earlier submissions, PM CARES Fund is not a "public authority" under the ambit of Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act, further clarifying that no government money is credited in the PM CARES Fund and only unconditional and voluntary contributions are accepted under PM CARES Fund. “It is reiterated that the Trust’s fund is not a fund of the Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India,” said an earlier affidavit filed by the PMO.