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PM-CARES not Government of India's fund, not ‘public authority’ under RTI Act: Centre tells Delhi HC

The Union government and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) also added that the PM-CARES fund can neither be brought under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act as a public authority nor can it be listed as a State.

PM-CARES not Government of India's fund, not public authority under RTI Act: Centre tells Delhi HC-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Sep 23, 2021, 1:14 PM IST
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The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations, or PM-CARES fund, is not a fund controlled by the Government of India and it is a charitable trust under the law, the Centre has informed the Delhi High Court.

The Union government and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) also added that the PM-CARES fund can neither be brought under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act as a public authority nor can it be listed as a State.

“Irrespective of whether the trust is a “State” or other authority within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India and or whether it is a ‘public authority’ within the meaning of section 2[h] of Right to Information Act, Section 8 in general and that of provisions contained in sub section [e] and [j], in particular, of the Right to Information Act, it is not permissible to disclose third party information,” Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, an Under Secretary at the PMO said in a reply.

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“To ensure transparency, the audited report is put on the official website of the trust along with the details of utilisation of funds received by the trust,” the reply said.

The submission was made in response to a petition seeking to know the legal status of the PM-CARES Fund. The Centre in an affidavit told a Bench of Chief Justices DN Patel and Jyoti Singh that the fund set up as a public charitable trust is not created by or under the Constitution of India.

The plea contends that citizens of the country are aggrieved that a fund set up by the Prime Minister and with trustees like the PM and Home, Defence and Finance Ministers has been declared to be a fund over which there is no government control.

According to Article 12 of the Constitution of India, “the State” includes “the Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India”.

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