In the matter of Divya Pal Singh v Union of India & Ors, the PM CARES Fund’s (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance & Relief in Emergency Situations Fund) legality has been questioned in a review petition. According to the petitioner’s argument, the Right to Information (RTI) Act was not used to review the PM Cares Fund because it was created without any relevant legislation being passed. It was stated that the PM CARES Fund weakens the Disaster Management Act.
The petitioner claims that contributions from numerous government ministries, agencies, and departments flow into the Fund practically routinely and without paying taxes, which undermines the Disaster Management Act. The petitioner has stated that it is astonishing and cannot be justified that the Prime Minister was soliciting donations and promoting the non-statutory “PM-CARES Fund” rather than the NDRF, which is the statutory fund established by the 2005 Act and required to address the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the argument, the office of the prime minister is obligated to uphold the purpose and mandate of the 2005 Act in both language and spirit in addition to being legally required to do so. As a result, the new trust (PM-CARES), in essence, and stance, is void from the start since it violates both the 2005 Act and the statutory fund (NDRF) thereunder. The appellant could not be regarded as the owner of the bitumen, hence the court granted permission for the appeal.
The decision of the Court
The Union and NDMA were sent notices by the Allahabad High Court bench of Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh, who also posted the case for further consideration in the final week of July. In a review petition that questioned the legitimacy of the PM CARES Fund (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance & Relief in Emergency Situations Fund), the bench requested a response from the Central government and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
The Central government and the NDMA were permitted by the Court to object to the petitioner’s request for condonation of delay. The petition was dismissed by the Allahabad High Court in 2020, and the petitioner then appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rejected the appeal in March 2022 and advised the petitioner to submit a review petition in its place. Before submitting the current petition for review, the petitioners withdrew their appeal to the highest court.