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PM-CARES fund 'not a public body’, under the RTI act: PMO while disposing an RTI application filed by a law student

Team SoOLEGAL 1 Jun 2020 3:07pm

PM-CARES fund 'not a public body’, under the RTI act: PMO while disposing an RTI application filed by a law student

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has clarified that the PM-CARES (Citizen’s Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund, which has so far received massive amounts of donations to deal with the obstacles from the COVID-19 crisis, is not a public authority under the ambit of Right to Information Act, 2005.

In a reply to an RTI submitted on April 1st, 2020 by Harsha Kandukuri, a student at Azim Premji University, Bangalore, the PMO clarified that the Fund is not a public authority under Section 2(h) of theRight to Information Act, 2005, and will therefore not be obliged to disclose the information sought in the petition.

The RTI application was seeking information on the establishment of the Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund). It also sought copies of the PM CARES Fund Trust deed and all Government Orders, Notifications and Circulars relating to its establishment and function.

On 29th May Public Information Officer of the PMO while disposing the RTI stated, “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”.

However, copies of the trust deed, and government orders/notifications relating to the PM CARES Fund are not posted on the fund's official website.

Also, Harsha Kandukuri said that he will pursue this matter further and stated, “the name, composition of the trust, control, usage of emblem, government domain name everything signifies that it is a public authority. By simply ruling that it's not a public authority and denying the application of RTI Act, the Government has constructed walls of secrecy around it. This is not just about lack of transparency and denying the application of the RTI Act to the fund, we should also be worried about how the fund is being operated”.



Tagged: PM-CARES fund   RTI act   law student   COVID-19   Prime Minister   Right to Information Act  
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