Use of national emblem on govt portal conveys that PM-CARES belongs to UOI, argues petitioner

·3-min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi [India], October 6 (ANI): During the final hearing in a petition seeking court direction to declare the PM-CARES fund a 'State' under the Constitution to ensure transparency in its functioning, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan appeared for the petitioner and submitted that use of national emblem conveys that PM-CARES fund belongs to Government of India.

Divan further argued that PM-CARES is using the Government of India portal and the national emblem is also on the left side. "If trust's fund is not a fund of Government of India then this would be violations of it as it is a private party. The trustees of it are also not ordinary functionaries. They have taken a high oath of office," he said.

The bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on Wednesday after hearing the submissions in length adjourned the matter for October 11 for further hearing.

The petition was filed by Samyak Gangwal, who sought to declare the PM-CARES fund a 'State' under the Constitution.

The petitioner has also sought direction to restrain PM-CARES fund from using Prime Minister of India or Prime Minister including its abbreviations in its name and on its website, Trust Deed and other official/unofficial communications and advertisements. He also sought to restrain the PM CARES FUND from using the State Emblem of India on its website, Trust Deed other official/ unofficial communications and advertisements.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan appeared for the petitioner.

In another petition, Gangwal has challenged the decision of the Central Public Information Officer, Prime Minister's Office wherein the RTI application seeking documents related to the PM Cares Fund fund was denied. Gangwal has filed its petition through advocates Debopriyo Moulik and Ayush Shrivastava. The petitioner has challenged the order dated June 2 passed by Central Public Information Officer, Prime Minister's Office ('PMO') to RTI Application. The CPIO refused to provide the documents sought by the petitioner on grounds that PM-CARES fund is not a 'Public Authority as defined in the RTI, Act 2005.

Recently, Prime Minister's Office (PMO) informed the Delhi High Court that the PM-CARES fund is not a fund of the Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India.

"It is reiterated that the Trust's fund is not a fund of Government of India and the amount does not go in the Consolidated Fund of India," said an affidavit filed by PMO.

PMO also said that PM-CARES fund is a charitable trust not created by or under the Constitution of India or by any law made by the Parliament or by any State legislature.

"I state that the Trust functions with transparency and its funds are audited by an auditor who is a Chartered Accountant drawn from the panel prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India," said the affidavit filed by an Under-Secretary at the PMO.

The affidavit further added that to ensure transparency, the audited report is put on the official website of the Trust along with the details of utilization of funds received by the Trust.

"Suffice to mention that all donations received by the Trust are received via online payments, cheques and/or Demand Drafts and the amount so received is audited with the audited report and the expenditure of Trust fund displayed on the website. In view of the specific provisions of section 8 of the Right to Information Act, the relief against para 5.3 of the Trust Deed dated 27.3.2020 pales into insignificance," read the affidavit

Adding further, it said that the Trust functions on the principles of transparency and public good in larger public interest like any other charitable trust and, therefore, cannot have any objection in uploading all its resolutions on its website to ensure transparency. (ANI)

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