New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on August 18 rejected the plea seeking the transfer of funds from PM CARES to NDRF. The Supreme Court ruled that the PM CARES Fund is not in violation of the Disaster Management Act (DMA) of 2005. The Central Government has set up the PM CARES Fund. To date, the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) is a statutory fund. The DMA overlooks the funding of NDRF.
A 3 Judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan also comprised of Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice MR Shah. Ashok Bhushan stated that the two funds can exist separately. Organizations and individuals can contribute freely to NDRF. However, funds from the PM CARES cannot be transferred to NDRF. The PM CARES Fund is entirely a different fund. It is a public charitable trust. The funds from PM CARES cannot be directed to be deposited to NDRF.
Earlier, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), an NGO has claimed that PM CARES Fund was set up in violation. The NGO claimed that the fund was in violation of the legal mandate under the DM Act. As per the DM Act, any grant made by any institution or person for the purpose of disaster management should be credited to NDRF.
The Central Government set up the PM CARES Fund on March 28. It was set up as a charitable trust whose primary objective is to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The PM CARES Fund deals with any kind of emergencies or distress situation posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Centre on July 8 has disapproved the argument by CPIL. The Centre has announced that the PM CARES Fund is only to carry out relief works related to COVID-19 pandemic.