Apex Court Hears PIL Questioning PM-CARES Fund

The Supreme Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) questioning the very basis to form a PM-CARES Fund set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for COVID-19 relief measures. Advocate ML Sharma, who had filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), contended that the power to form a contingency relief fund, such as PM Cares, lies only with the Parliament.

On March 28, 2020, the Centre 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. However, Sharma argued that the power to create contingency funds lies with the Parliament under Article 266 and 267 of the Indian Constitution. He sought a transfer of the donations received by the PM-CARES Fund so far to the Consolidated Fund of India. Besides, Sharma also called for a court-monitored SIT probe into the setting up of the fund.

However, the Bench termed the petition as ‘misconceived‘ while dismissing it. The CJI led bench reprimanded the petitioner and stated that the bench will impose a cost on him.  The bench comprised of CJI S.A. Bobde, and Justices L Nageswara Rao and MM Shantanagoudar. Previously, Sharma has come under the scrutiny of the Apex Court for filing ‘frivolous’ petitions, including a petition on the abrogation of 370 which was similarly dismissed.