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Centre seeks dismissal of review petition on PM CARES fund


PTI, Jan 9, 2021, 5:34 PM IST

The Centre on Saturday sought dismissal of a review petition seeking information about funds received by the Prime Minister’s Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situation (PM CARES) Fund. The Union government told the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court that audit statement of receipt and payment accounts of the PM CARES Fund for 2019-20 was available on the trust’s website.

An affidavit was filed by Pradeep Srivastava, Under Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, before a division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilor in response to a petition filed by advocate Arvind Waghmare. Waghmare has sought a review of the High Court’s August 2020 order dismissing his plea for declaration of the funds received by PM CARES, a charitable trust set up by the Union government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August, 2020, the High Court, however, dismissed the petition saying since the Public Charitable Trust Act was applicable to the PM CARES Fund, the petitioner was free to resort to the mechanism provided under the Act for redressal of his grievance of public disclosure of funds. Later, in December, 2020, Waghmare filed a review petition before the High Court, claiming that the Public Charitable Trusts Act was not applicable in Delhi and sought the court to direct the government to disclose details of the funds received and expenditure done.

The Centre, in its affidavit, stated that the review petition was completely “misconceived and is nothing but another attempt at seeking publicity”. It added that no new grounds have been raised in the review petition.

“Audit statement of receipt and payment accounts of PM CARES Fund for the financial year 2019-20 is available on the website of the Trust. As such, the petitioner cannot be said to have any grievances about disclosure of income and expenditure of the funds,” the affidavit said. It further stated that the High Court has already dismissed Waghmare’s petition in the past and should now dismiss his review petition with exemplary cost.

The High Court on Saturday heard arguments of all parties and reserved its order on the review plea.

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