Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

PMO Opposes PIL To Remove Prime Minister's Name & Image From PM Cares Fund In Bombay High Court

Sharmeen Hakim
18 Jan 2022 1:44 PM GMT
PMO Opposes PIL To Remove Prime Ministers Name & Image From PM Cares Fund In Bombay High Court
x

The PM Cares Fund, through the Prime Minister has sought dismissal of the PIL in the Bombay High Court which seeks directions to remove the name and image of the 'Prime Minister' from the trust deed and official website for violating the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 Act. In an affidavit, Pradeep Srivastava, Under Secretary Prime Minister's Office for the...

The PM Cares Fund, through the Prime Minister has sought dismissal of the PIL in the Bombay High Court which seeks directions to remove the name and image of the 'Prime Minister' from the trust deed and official website for violating the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 Act.

In an affidavit, Pradeep Srivastava, Under Secretary Prime Minister's Office for the trust, said that PM CARES Fund and Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) are both chaired by the Prime Minister. And since the name, photograph of the Prime Minister and National Emblem are used for the PMNRF, they are also used for the PM CARES.

The PMNRF was set up in 1948 to collect donations for refugees and later to help with other calamities. The disbursal of funds for PMNRF is solely with the Prime Minister.

"I further say that Flag Code of India, 2002 which brings together all laws, conventions, practices and instructions regarding display of the National Flag provides that there shall be no restriction on the display of the National Flag by members of general public, private organizations, educational institutions, etc, except to the extent provided in the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950," the affidavit states.

The affidavit clarifies that it is being filed for the limited purpose of opposing interim relief and admission of the PIL. On Tuesday the matter was taken up by the bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta. The plea was adjourned for two weeks after the bench was informed about the Additonal Solicitir General's ill health.

The Prime Minister's name and picture violate The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 and Rules, and The State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper use) Act, 2005 and Rules, the petition filed by Vikrant Chavan states.

Chavan is the district president of the Indian National Congress party. He has also sought removal of the State Emblem of India and the National Flag.

The petitioner claimed that from the trust deed of the PM Cares fund it appears that its Board of Trustees are appointed in their personal capacity. Moreover, that the PM is empowered to remove or replace trustees at his discretion. All this, despite the trust not being a Government of India Trust.

The affidavit in response claims that the Prime Minister is Chairperson (ex-officio) of the PM CARES Fund and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund. "All the Trustees of the PM CARES Fund act in a pro bono capacity. The composition of the Board of Trustees consisting of holders of public office ex officio is merely for administrative convenience and for smooth succession to the trusteeship."

Lastly the affidavit states that the petitioner approached the High Court without exhausting his administrative remedies available under the Emblems & Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950; the Emblems & Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Rules, 1982; the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 and the State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules, 2007.

"In view of the above, it is submitted that the petition is devoid of any merits and, therefore, the same deserves to be dismissed with costs," the affidavit adds.

Background

Chavan as interim reliefs has sought directions to Respondent No 2 (Modi) to to remove the name of the "PRIME MINISTER" and Emblem "STATE EMBLEM OF INDIA" from the registered TRUST DEED dated March 27, 2020, by which Respondent No.1 (PM Cares trust) was constituted.

The plea states that the PM CARES Fund (Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund) claims to be a charitable trust without any budgetary support, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its ex-officio chairman.

Donations to the trust would qualify for 80G benefits for 100% exemption under the Income Tax Act, 1961. The plea adds that donations will also qualify to be counted as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure.

According to the plea, non-government entities are altogether excluded and are prohibited to use names and emblems. Granting permission to the non-government entities would defeat the object of the Act of 1950, Act of 2005.

The plea states that the Act of 1950 was enacted to prevent the improper use of certain emblems and names for professional and commercial purposes. Section 3 prohibits the improper use of certain emblems and names. Contravention of the section is punishable with a fine of Rs 500.

The PIL notes that it violates section 3 read with 9A of the 1950 Act. Moreover, using the State Emblem would violate Section 3 read with Schedule of the Act of 2005 read with Rule 10(3) of Rules of 2007.

Next Story