The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea seeking directions to the central government to disclose details of accounts, activity and expenditure under the PM-CARES Fund, PTI reported.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai directed the petitioner to seek review before the Allahabad High Court, which had also rejected his plea in August 2020. The petitioner, Advocate Divya Pal Singh, had challenged the High Court order in the Supreme Court.
At Friday’s hearing, Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat, who appeared for the petitioner, argued that the PM-CARES Fund should be opened for audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, PTI reported. He also submitted that all the contentions raised in the Supreme Court had not been considered by the high court, Live Law reported.
“You might be right in saying that all issues were not considered,” the bench said in response. “We don’t know if you had argued. You go and file a review. Let us have the benefit of the High Court order.”
In his petition, Singh had submitted that “unimaginable and unfathomable amounts of public money is pumped unabatedly everyday, into the coffers of the [PM-CARES] Fund”.
The Allahabad High Court had rejected Singh’s petition on the basis of a Supreme Court judgement in August 2020 which had dismissed a plea to conduct an audit of the fund.
The PM-CARES Fund
The PM-CARES Fund was established in March 2020 with an aim of making it a dedicated national collection to deal with any kind of emergency situation in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the chairperson of the trust.
Prime Minister Modi is the chairperson of the PM CARES Fund trust while senior ministers are its trustees.
In an affidavit submitted to the Delhi High Court on September 14, the Centre had stated that the PM-CARES fund can neither be listed as “the State” nor a “public authority” under the Right to Information Act.