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SC judgement on PM CARES Fund a ''body blow to transparency'': Congress

SC judgement on PM CARES Fund a body blow to transparency: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday said the Supreme Court''s judgement on the PM CARES Fund is a "body blow to transparency and accountability" of the government to the people.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Apex Court let go an opportunity to bring in transparency in the fund which has "its own opaque and murky rules" and, thereby, deviated from the belief that "sunlight is the best disinfectant".

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to direct the Centre to transfer the contributions made to the PM CARES Fund for battling the COVID-19 pandemic to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that voluntary contribution can always be made to the NDRF as there is no statutory bar under the Disaster Management Act.

Reacting to the verdict, Surjewala said, "The SC judgment is a body blow to transparency & accountability of Govt to people. It marks a sad letter day for responsibility & answerability of rulers to the electorate and remind them that they are not ''Monarchs'' but ''servants of the people''."

"SC scrupulously believed that ''sunlight is the best disinfectant''. Today, the Court, in a departure from that tradition, passed up an opportunity to demand answers on the #PMCaresFund that seeks public money but plays by its own opaque & murky rules," he said in another tweet.

NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, in its plea before the Supreme Court, had sought a direction that all the money collected under the PM CARES Fund for the COVID-19 pandemic should be transferred to the NDRF.

In March, the Centre set up the Prime Minister''s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation like the one currently posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and provide relief to those affected.

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