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‘Misconceived plea’: SC rejects challenge to PM CARES Fund

New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking quashing the decision to set up the PM CARES Fund, where people can contribute to money amid the outbreak of coronavirus to provide relief to those affected in the country. The apex court termed the plea, filed by advocate M.L. Sharma, “misconceived” and dismissed it.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde did not agree to submissions made by Sharma that this fund has been created without following schemes under Articles 266 and 267 (which deals with contingency and Consolidate Funds) of the Constitution.

The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund, and has three ministers as ex-officio trustees – Defence, Home and Finance. The plea had also sought a court-monitored Special Investigation Team to probe into the setting of this Fund, which was set up on March 28.

In another matter, the Supreme Court also refused to entertain a plea seeking direction to the Centre, state governments and Union Territories to nationalize all healthcare facilities and connected entities till the coronavirus outbreak is contained.

A bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat, while hearing the matter through video conferencing, said the court cannot pass a direction sought in the plea. It said the first prayer in the petition is misconceived and the petition is dismissed. On the second prayer, which sought direction to provide free coronavirus test and treatment for coronavirus, the bench said it had already examined another petition having common issues.

The court then tagged this petition with another pending matter.

The bench told the petitioner it cannot nationalise hospitals, as the government has already taken over some hospitals. The plea claimed India does not have sufficient public health care infrastructure to fight back coronavirus pandemic.




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