Delhi Court To Hear Petition On PM-CARES Fund In August

The PMO raised questions on the maintainability to the petition challenging the decision of its CPIO.

Delhi Court To Hear Petition On PM-CARES Fund In August

The plea will be heard on August 28.

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that it will hear on August 28 a plea challenging Prime Minister's Office's decision to deny information on PM-CARES Fund under RTI act.

The PMO raised questions on the maintainability to the petition challenging the decision of its CPIO.

Justice Navin Chawla listed the matter for August 28 for further argument.

The plea, filed by petitioner Samyak Gangwal, through advocates Debopriyo Moulik and Ayush Shrivastava, said that the CPIO refused to provide the documents sought by the petitioner on grounds that the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund is not a ''Public Authority'' as defined in the RTI Act, 2005.

He said that a public charitable trust named PM-CARES Fund was a measure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by the PMO formed on March 28 through a press note.

In the press release, the PMO appealed to the citizens to donate to the PM-CARES Fund in light of severe health and economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was also announced that donations to PM-CARES fund would qualify as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and would be exempted from tax under Section 10 and Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the plea said.

It said that on May 1, the petitioner exercising his Right to Information and filed an online RTI seeking the information about the PM-CARES Fund.

Meanwhile, another public interest litigation (PIL) seeking transparency on PM-CARES Fund was withdrawn. The PIL, being heard by a division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, was dismissed as withdrawn.

The PIL filed by petitioner SS Hooda, through advocate Aditya Hooda, sought transparency of PM-CARES Fund and to display the details of money received and spent.