“This is such an important issue and only one page affidavit filed. There is not even a whisper about anything in this reply,” bench said.
In a plea seeking a declaration that PM CARES Fund is “State” under Article 12 of the Constitution, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the PMO secretary to file a detailed and exhaustive reply, adding that it was an important issue requiring a proper response, LiveLaw reported.
Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, presiding over a division bench, also expressed unhappiness over a one page affidavit earlier filed on behalf of the PM-CARES Fund Trust in the matter. The bench said the affidavit wasn’t detailed enough to justify the concerns raised in the petition.
The Under Secretary at Prime Minister’s Office, in the affidavit, stated that there is no control of either the Central Government or the State Government in the functioning of the PM CARES Trust.
“This is such an important issue and only one page affidavit filed. There is not even a whisper about anything in this reply,” bench said, LiveLaw reported.
“File a proper reply. The issue isn’t that simple. We need an exhaustive reply,” bench added.
The Delhi HC also granted four weeks time to the Centre for filing a detailed reply in the matter.
The Court remarked that it “will have to pass a detailed order on each and every point raised”.
The bench will now hear the matter on September 16.
Arguing for PIL petitioner Samyak Gangwal, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan argued that the Fund is nothing but State within the meaning of Constitution of India and that any fund created by constitutional functionaries cannot be contracted out of the Constitution of India. Divan said: “You may create a structure but you cannot claim immunity from the constitution.”
If the Prime Minister wishes to settle an institution, Divan added, he may do so, however, the same has to be within the umbrella of the State.
The fund, Divan argued, is destructive of good governance and may lead to many problems in the future.
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