Supreme Court dismisses plea to transfer PM CARES Fund to NDRF

Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking the transfer of money in PM CARES Funds to National Disaster Relief Fund. The SC said that fresh national disaster plan for coronavirus COVId-19 is not needed and observed that funds collected in PM CARES fund are meant for charitable trust.

“There is no statutory prohibition on contributions made to NDRF and the contributions to PM Cares fund are voluntary. Funds collected by the PM Cares fund are entirely different and these funds are funds of charitable trust. Thus, funds need not be transferred,” said the apex court.

“The National Disaster Management plan created in November, 2019 is enough to tackle Covid-19. No need to create fresh action plan or separate minimum standards of care,” it added.

The verdict was pronounced by a three-judge bench headed by justice Ashok Bhushan. The petition was filed by an NGO named Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) had sought a direction to the Centre to transfer the funds of PM Cares Fund to the NDRF. On June 17, the SC had asked the Centre to file its response on the plea.

Set up on Matrch 28, the PM Cares Fund is a public charitable trust with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation. The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund and the defence, home and finance ministers are ex-officio trustees.