New Delhi: A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Delhi high court seeking direction to the PM CARES Fund to release details of the money received and utilised under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The plea said the fund is a "public authority".
The court will likely hear the matter on 10 June.
Filed by advocate Surender Singh Hooda, the plea cited newspaper reports that said the fund refused to divulge information sought by one Harsha Kundakarni under the Right to Information Act, 2005, saying it is not a "public authority" within the ambit of the Act.
"Therefore, the petitioner’s or anybody else’s application would also meet the same fate and hence the exercise of exhausting the remedy by filing another application and then filing appeal before the statutory authority may be dispensed with in the interest of justice," the plea said.
The plea said the fund was created to help the country fight covid-19 and after two months of its creation the corpus stands at about ₹10,000 crore - the amount so collected on the strength of the prestige lent by the office of the prime minister.
"The reluctance of the trustees of the fund in divulging information as to the management of the fund raises a profoundly serious apprehension since the fund has been set up to fight Covid-19 which is a public cause. It is further unfathomable as to why such secrecy is desired when the website of the fund clearly states that all persons engaged in the management of the fund are working on a pro bono capacity and shall have no personal interest in the fund," the plea added.
It said transparency is the bedrock of rule of law and the opaqueness smells of ulterior motives or at least is indicative of feudal mindset and hawkish attitude, which is opposed to being fair, just and reasonable in public dealings.
“Every victim of Covid-19 is interested in and has a right to know as to how much fund has been collected and how the same is being expended or is planned to be expended."