Existence of NDRF Doesn’t Bar Creation of PM Cares: Centre to SC

The government also said that transferring PM Cares funds to NDRF is not "maintainable".

2 min read
File photo of Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. 

In a response to a plea seeking transfer of PM Cares Fund to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), the Centre, on Thursday, 9 July, filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying the existence of NDR fund does not prohibit a different fund like PM Cares.

The affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs said, "It is submitted there exists a fund stipulated under section of the DMA (Disaster Management Act) which is called NDRF fund. However, mere existence of a statutory fund would not prohibit in creation of a different fund like PM-Cares fund which provides for voluntary donations," IANS reported.

The government also said that transferring funds is not "maintainable".

“It is submitted that a prayer being made seeking a direction of this Hon’ble court under Article 32 of the Consitution of India directing the funds received by PM Cares Fund to be credited to NDRF is neither maintainable on merits nor is otherwise maintainable under Article 32 as all funds other than the funds stipulated under section 46 of DM Act, 2005 are separate, different and distinct created separately under separate provisions,” Centre added in its affidavit.

The Centre’s response comes after a PIL was filed in June urging the Centre to formulate a National Plan to contain COVID-19 as per DMA.

The petition also sought:

1) Centre should lay down minimum standards for relief and implement those standards as per DMA

2) All receipts of PM Cares fund (which is not being audited by CAG and even basic information is not being disclosed) be transferred to National Disaster Response Fund and be utilised from NDRF as per DMA

A Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah had issued notice to the Centre to file its reply affidavit.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave appeared for the petitioner, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), along with senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

After Centre's response, Bhushan took to Twitter to slam the government, accusing it of using PM Cares find to buy "bogus ventilators".

Earlier, Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi also accused the government of using PM Cares fund for sub-standard products.

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