The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will file a response before the Delhi High Court in connection with a petition seeking a declaration that PM CARES Fund qualified as a public authority under RTI Act.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the Delhi High Court today that a response would be filed as to why the petition deserved to be dismissed. A single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla accordingly granted six weeks’ time to the PMO to file its response to the petition preferred by Samyak Gangwal
Earlier Petitioner Samyak Gangwal had moved an RTI application for PM CARES fund seeking the following details:
- a copy of the trust deed of the PM CARES Fund;
- a copy of the document/letter/memo vide which Fund was constituted;
- a copy of the entire file including note sheets/letters/communications/office memos/orders etc wherein the decision to constitute PM CARES Fund was taken.
The Petitioner has also informed that the Prime Minister’s Office even released a Press Note urging all to generously donate to the Fund in view of COVID-19. Subequently, the donations were expected from tax liabilities and qualified as CSR activity, it is added.
In his petition file through Advocates Debopriyo Moulik and Ayush Srivastava, the Petitioner has justified the invocation of the Court’s jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution on the ground that the Chief Information Commissioner has already held that Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, which is similar to the PM CARES Fund, was not a public authority under the RTI Act and a petition assailing that finding was pending with before the High Court.
Submitting that Right to Information was a fundamental right under Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, the Petitioner has thus sought for a declaration that PM CARES was a public authority under the RTI Act.
Directions are also sought to give a copy of the documents/details sought by the Petitioner in the RTI.
The matter would be heard next on August 28.