The Supreme Court on August 18 ruled that the funds from the PM-CARES Fund need not be transferred to the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) and individuals can voluntarily contribute to the NDRF.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah dismissed a petition seeking transfer of all funds from PM CARES Fund to NDRF.
The Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), in the plea had claimed that in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic, NDRF is not being utilized by the authorities, and establishing the PM CARES Fund is outside the scope of the Disaster Management Act.
The Top Court held that there was no need for a fresh national disaster relief plan for Covid-19 pandemic, and minimum standards of relief issued under Disaster Management Act were sufficient.
The bench said there is no impediment for citizens and corporates to deposit funds in NDRF and clarified that PM CARES Fund is completely different from the NDRF.
On June 17, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to transfer funds from PM CARES Fund to National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).
The bench also rejected advocate Prashant Bhushan's plea that Centre should have framed a fresh national disaster management plan for Covid-19, and it should have not relied on the national plan, which was formulated in December 2019, focusing on tackling the biological disaster.