The response of the MHA was filed in a plea by Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking transfer of the amount deposited in the PM Cares Fund to the NDRF.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court stating that the existence of a statutory fund like the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) does not bar the creation of the ‘PM Cares Fund’, since it accepts voluntary donations.
The response of the MHA was filed in a plea by Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking transfer of the amount deposited in the PM Cares Fund to the NDRF, since the former does not have any legal backing.
In its response, the MHA states that such a prayer for crediting funds from one fund to another is not maintainable under Article 32 of the Constitution.
“There are several funds which are either established earlier or now for carrying out various relief works. PM Cares is one such fund with voluntary donations. The mere existence of a statutory fund would not prohibit the creation of a different fund like PM Cares Fund which provides for voluntary donations. Prayer under Article 32 to transfer PM Cares Fund into NDRF account is not maintainable as all funds other than the funds stipulated under Section 46 of Disaster Management Act, 2005, are separate, different, and distinct created under separate provisions.”
Affidavit filed by MHA before Supreme Court
CPIL had also prayed that a National Plan is drawn up for the whole of the country as mandated by Section 11 of the Disaster Management Act. The petition had stated, “…currently, there is no such national plan in place to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic even though the same has been notified as a ‘disaster’ and numerous notifications are being issued to contain the same under the DM Act.”
However, MHA has termed this prayer as being “infructuous”, stating that there already exists a National Plan under the Disaster Management Act.
Affidavit filed by MHA before Supreme Court states, “National Disaster Management plan as per section 11 is already in place at the national level. The central government has worked under the broad framework of the said national plan. The plan specifically deals with biological and public health emergencies.”
The Centre has also questioned the motive of the petitioners stating that the organization was only dealing with filing PILs since the concept of PIL originated through cases like Bandhua Mukti Morcha. MHA further states that an empowered group has been formed which is coordinating and working closely with 92,000 genuine NGOs across the country who is helping the government chart the best course of the response action.