Nagpur : The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has served notices to Defence, Home and Finance departments of union government for declaration of funds received by the newly created trust, PM-Cares Funds, in the wake of COVID pandemic in response to a petition.
As per the plea, the PM-CARES Funds, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its chairperson and ministers from the departments of defence, Home and finance as its members, was created with the prime objective of dealing with the emergency or distress posed by the coronavirus outbreak. The trust was created in order to have financial assistance from people in the country and also from overseas, to provide relief and assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While filing a petition before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, a Nagpur-based lawyer, Waghmare pointed out that as per the guidelines of the PM CARES Fund, apart from the chairperson and three other trustees, the chairperson had to appoint or nominate three more trustees. However, since the formation of the trust on March 28, 2020, till date, no appointment has been made. He insisted that there should be at least two trustees from the opposition parties to have a proper check and transparency.
In order to fortify and strengthen the general public faith and confidence, it is necessary to issue a direction to the government to declare the funds collected by PM-CARES Funds till date and how the same have been used for the benefits of citizens affected by coronavirus in website periodically, the petition said.
However, the Union government counsel, the Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh opposed the move and sought dismissal of the petition. Singh informed a division bench of the court, comprising Justices SB Shukre and AS Kilor, that the Supreme Court had in April dismissed a similar petition against setting up of the PM CARES fund. The bench noted that the petition before it sought different reliefs, and directed the Union government to file an affidavit in response to the plea within two weeks. “File an affidavit stating whatever is your (Union government) stand,” the court said.