Nagpur, Jun 2 : The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to respond within two weeks on a petition seeking declaration of funds received by the Prime Ministers Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situation (PM CARES), a public charitable trust created by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh urged the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court that the petition, filed by advocate Arvind Waghmare, should be dismissed. The Solicitor General apprised the court that a similar petition against setting up of the PM CARES fund was dismissed by the Supreme Court in April.
However, the division bench of Justice S B Shukre and A S Kilor noted that the petition before it was seeking different reliefs and asked the central government to file an affidavit in response to the plea within two weeks stating whatever is the central government’s stand.
Arvind Waghmare in his petition sought a direction to the government to declare funds received and expenditure of the fund on the government’s website periodically. “The PM CARES trust, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its chairperson and ministers from departments of Defence, Home and Finance as its members, was created with the key objective of dealing with the emergency caused by the coronavirus,” the plea said.
As per the guidelines, the chairperson must appoint or nominate three more trustees. However, from the formation of the trust on March 28 till date no appointment has been made, the petition claimed. The petitioner has sought a direction to the central government and its trust to nominate at least two members from opposition parties to have proper check and transparency. Besides, to reinforce public faith and confidence and also how the funds have been used for welfare, it is necessary to issue a direction to the government to declare the funds collected by PM CARES trust till date, the petition added. (UNI)