The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to direct the Centre to transfer the contributions made to the PM CARES Fund for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising justices R S Reddy and M R Shah said that voluntary contribution can always be made to the NDRF as there is no statutory bar under the Disaster Management Act.
The verdict came on a PIL, filed by NGO ‘Centre for Public Interest Litigation, seeking a direction that all the money collected under the PM CARES Fund for the COVID-19 pandemic should be transferred to the NDRF.
The Centre had on March 28 set up the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation like the one currently posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and provide relief to those affected.
The prime minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund and the ministers of defence, home and finance are its ex-officio trustees.