Nagpur based advocate Arvind Waghmare filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court seeking details on the donations and the expenditure of the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund and making the same public. A Division Bench of Justices SB Shukre and AS Kilor heard the petition filed by Waghmare.
The PM CARES fund is a public charitable trust, which was created by the government amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The Centre, however, requested the court to dismiss the petition filed by Waghmare, who had asked the Centre to make the details of the outflow as well as the inflow of the funds public through their official website – periodically.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the chairperson of the fund, ministers from departments of home, defence, and finance are its members. Waghmare alleged that despite the given guidelines of the PM CARES fund that three more people were supposed to be brought on board, no trustees were appointed for the fund since it was created on March 28. He also demanded that the government should appoint or nominate at least two members from Opposition parties for transparency.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh who represented the Centre said the petition should be dismissed since the Supreme Court had dismissed a similar plea against setting up of the PM CARES fund in April. The court said the current petition was seeking different details and directed Singh to file an affidavit in response to the plea within two weeks.
Advocate Arvind Waghmare told Nation Next, “Hundreds of crores of rupees have been donated to PM CARES fund, which was set up on March 28, 2020. As per the guidelines of the fund, three more trustees should have been appointed, which didn’t happen. I feel three reliable people with a clean track record from the Opposition should be made trustees. Moreover, this is the people’s hard earned money, which has been diverted to this fund. Huge amounts given by companies like Tata, Wipro, etc., as CSR funds have also been diverted to this fund. I feel every detail should be made public.”