Supreme Court Decides on Plea by Mahua Moitra Challenging MCA Circular on CSR

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) issued a circular under challenge in the Supreme Court. The impugned circular excludes donations made to Chief Minister’s Relief Fund from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Ms.Mahua Moitra, a Member of Parliament from Krishnanagar, West Bengal had challenged the circular before the apex court. A Bench comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice B.R. Gavai heard the petition.

The petitioner argued that the impugned circular recognizes only the PM-CARES Funds. It excludes chief minister’s relief funds from its purview. Thus, it clearly violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Further contending that it ultra vires the provisions of Companies Act, 2013. This is because section 135 of the Act deals with CSR and Schedule VII includes Chief Minister’s Relief Fund within its purview. Thus, according to the Act, the chief minister’s relief funds are eligible recipients for realizing CSR.

Thus, she sought directions to the Centre to allow Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to receive donations under CSR. However, the Supreme Court Bench found no merit in the petition. It further observed the absence of an aggrieved party in the case. The Apex Court stated that the petitioner is a Member of Parliament; Therefore, she can raise the issue before the Parliament itself and deal with it accordingly. As a result, Ms. Mahua Moitra withdrew the petition.

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