The Delhi High Court has been urged by the PMO that, “Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Fund’, or the PM-CARES Fund, which was created for assistance in the Covid-19 pandemic, does not come under the Government of India and it will not fall under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act. Also, the fund collected is not a part of the Consolidated Fund of India.

The Centre, in an affidavit, stated that the Fund can neither be listed as “State” nor “public authority” under the Right to Information as it accepts funds from private sources.

In an affidavit filed by an Under-Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) who is performing duty in the PM Cares Trust on an honorary basis, it has been said the trust works with transparency and its funds are audited by an auditor- a chartered accountant chosen from the panel formed by Mr. G.C. Murmu, Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

“To ensure transparency, the audited report is put on the official website of the trust along with the details of utilization of funds received by the trust,” says the affidavit filed by Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Under Secretary at the PMO.

“I state that when the petitioner is claiming to be a public-spirited person and seeking to pray for various reliefs only for transparency, it does not matter whether PM-CARES is a ‘State’ within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India”, proclaimed the officer in the affidavit.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Amit Bansal has resolved the matter for further hearing on September 27.

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