The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that there are several funds which were established currently or sooner for carrying out relief works and PM-CARES is one such fund with voluntary contributions.
The affidavit filed with the Ministry of Home Affairs stated “It is filed there is a finance stipulated under section of this DMA (Disaster Management Act) which is called NDR finance. However, mere presence of a statutory fund would not prohibit in production of another fund such as PM-CARES fund that provides for voluntary contributions.”
The Centre contended that the request seeking a path that the funds obtained by PM-CARES to be attributed to NDRF (National Disaster Response Fund) is neither maintainable on values is maintainable under Article 32 as all funds other than the capital stipulated under section 46 of Disaster Management Act, 2005 are independent, distinct and different, created separately under separate provisions.
On June 17, the apex court issued notice to the Centre to a PIL seeking to move capital from PM-CARES into National Disaster Response Finance (NDRF).
A bench comprising M R Shah, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justices Ashok Bhushan asked the Centre to file a response. Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), at the prosecution claimed that in the background of Covid-19 pandemic, NDRF is not being utilised by the government, and establishing that the PM-CARES fund is outside the range of the Disaster Management Act.
The petitioner argued that the funds collected in PM-CARES till date may be directed to be transferred to the NDRF.
“Centre might be made to use National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for the purpose of providing help in the struggle against Covid-19 pandemic in compliance with Section 46 of the DM Act, and all the contributions/grants from individuals and associations shall be credited to the NDRF concerning Section 46(1)(b) rather than to PM-CARES fund and the funds collected from the PM-Cares till date could be directed to be transferred into the NDRF”, stated the PIL.
The petition argued that there is need to put in place a wider and nicely thought out program outlining inter alia a detailed coordination mechanism between the Centre and countries.