The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has refused to divulge information sought in an application filed under the RTI Act Stating that PM CARES FUNDS is not a ‘public authority’ under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005
The RTI application was made by Harsha Kandukuri (LLM student)on April 1, seeking information regarding the constitution of the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund .
The PM CARES Fund was created on 28 March 2020, “with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the Fund and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
Following the creation of the fund, opposition members raised many queries as to why a separate fund was needed when the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund was already there.
The Supreme Court had dismissed two Public Interest Litigations (PIL) filed questioning the legality of the constitution of Fund by saying that the petitions were “misconceived” and “as having a political colour”.
Disposing of the application on May 29, the Public Information Officer of PMO said ;
“PM CARES Fund is not a public authority under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005. However, relevant information in respect of PM CARES Fund may be seen on the website pmcares.gov.in”
The copies of the trust deed, and the government orders/notifications relating to the PM CARES Fund are not seen uploaded in the official website of the fund.
Read the PMO reply:PMO-reply