Is PM Cares “Public Authority” under RTI Act?

Yesterday a question was asked in the Parliament by Rahul Gandhi, that, Whether PM Cares Fund setup by Central Government, is a Public Authority under Right to Information Act? The Government replied “NO”

PM CARES Fund (The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) has been setup by the Central Government to accept donations and provide reliefs during the CVOID-19 pandemic and like emergencies.

Earlier on 1st April 2020, one Sri Harsha Kandukuri filed an RTI Application, reuesting to provide soft copy of trust deed of PM Cares Fund, all Government Order, notifictions and circulars related to creation of PM Cares Fund Trust.

Sri Kandukuri, received a reply of the Government on 29.05.2020, stating that PM Cares Fund is not a “Public Authroity” under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act. Itwas further stated that, however relevant information can be seen from the official website of PM Cares Fund.

Now, Yesterday Rahul Gandhi, through written questions, asked about the status of ‘PM Cares Fund’ under the RTI Act. The question reads as under:

Whether it is a fact that according to the Ministry #PMCARES was set up on March 27, 2020 by the Central Government thus making it a public authority under Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act, 2005 and if so, the details thereof.

In reply to this the Central Government gave a categorical reply of “NO” .

Earlier a petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking transfer of money from the PM Cares Fund to the NDRF, for use during this COVID-19 Pandemic. 

However, on August 18, the Supreme Court rejected the Petition and held that funds from PM CARES need not be transferred. The funds under PM Cares Fund are entirely different and for a charitable purpose.

The Court also observed that the Central Government is free to transfer the money, wherever it feels appropriate. After the Judgment of the Supreme Court, the matter was closed but now the question in Parliament has again opened the debate.

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