Plea in HC seeks disclosure of PM CARES Fund audit report

The Delhi High Court will hear on April 23 a petition seeking declaration of Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund as a “State” and disclosure of its audit report periodically.

Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh clubbed this case with an application to bring PM CARES Fund under the Right to Information Act and listed both matters for hearing on April 23.

Both the pleas were filed by petitioner Samyak Gangwal, who sought declaration of the fund as ‘the State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution of India.

The second prayer seeks the court to direct PM CARES Fund to disclose its audit report on its website periodically along with the details of the donations received and their utilisation every quarter.

“PM CARES Fund performs a public function, which is similar to government functions. It utilises the privileges, benefits and exemptions which are reserved for the state,” the petitioner contended.

The petition also raised an issue over a paragraph in the trust deed issued on the PM CARES website, where it is stated that the trust is not controlled by the government.

“It is unimaginable that a fund, which has been set up by the Prime Minister of India, has been declared to be a fund over which there is no government control,” the petitioner said.