The Supreme Court reserved its order on 27 July 2020 on a plea, which has said all the money collected under the PM CARES Fund for the COVID-19 pandemic should be transferred to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan that the PM CARES Fund is a “voluntary fund” while funds to the NDRF and SDRF are made available through budgetary allocations.
- Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for petitioner NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), said they are not doubting the bona fide of anyone but the creation of the PM CARES Fund is allegedly in contravention of provisions of the Disaster Management Act.
- He claimed that an audit of the NDRF is being conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) but the government has said the audit of the PM CARES Fund will be done by private auditors.
- The Supreme Court has reserved its order on the issue raised in the petition regarding transferring the money collected under the PM CARES Fund to the NDRF.
- On June 17, the apex court had asked the Centre to file its response on the plea, which has sought a direction that all the contributions made by individuals and institutions for the COVID-19 pandemic should be credited to the NDRF, rather than to the PM CARES Fund.
- The Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was created in March 2020.
- It is a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected.
- The Prime Minister of India is the chairman of the fund. Trustees include the Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance in the Government of India.