Nagpur– The Bombay High Court has sought the Centre’s response to a petition seeking declaration of the funds received by the Prime Minister’s Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situation (PM CARES), a public charitable trust created by the government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Justice Madhav Jamdar of the high court’s Nagpur bench was, on May 12, hearing a petition filed by advocate Arvind Waghmare, seeking a direction to the government to declare funds received and the expenditure of the same on the government’s website periodically.
The court asked the Union Government to file an affidavit in response to the plea and posted the matter for further hearing on May 15.
As per the plea, the PM CARES trust, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its chairperson and ministers from the Departments of Defence, Home and Finance as its members, was created with the prime objective of dealing with the emergency or distress posed by the outbreak of COVID-19.
The trust was created in order to have financial assistance from people in the country and also from overseas, to provide relief and assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As per the guidelines of the PM CARES Fund, apart from the chairperson and three other trustees, the chairperson had to appoint or nominate three more trustees. However, since the formation of the trust on March 28, 2020, till date no appointment has been made, the petition claimed.
The petition has sought a direction to the government and the trust to appoint or nominate at least two members from opposition parties to have a proper check and transparency.
“In order to fortify and strengthen the general public’s faith and confidence, it is necessary to issue a direction to the government to declare the funds collected by the PM CARES Fund to date, and how the same have been used for the benefits of citizens affected by COVID-19,” the plea said.
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