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Noting That Petitioner Hasn't Made RTI Application, Delhi HC Refuses To Entertain PIL Seeking Information On PM CARES Fund

Karan Tripathi
10 Jun 2020 5:50 PM GMT
Noting That Petitioner Hasnt Made RTI Application, Delhi HC Refuses To Entertain PIL Seeking Information On PM CARES Fund
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A division bench of the Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation seeking disclosure of information of source of funds of PM CARES and its utilization.

This was after the bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan noted that the Petitioner had not filed any RTI application regarding the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund).

The Court also noted that the submission of the petitioner that data regarding receipt and disbursement of funds be uploaded on the official website was not matching with the averments in the petition, which related only to the question as to whether the PM CARES Fund is covered under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

"...arguments as canvassed by the petitioner does not match the prayer made herein by the petitioner.

Furthermore, as no application has ever been preferred by the petitioner seeking information under the Right to Information Act, 2005 from the respondents, we therefore see no reason to entertain this writ petition at this stage as a public interest litigation", the bench observed.

PM CARES Fund Not A 'Public Authority' Under RTI Act, Says Prime Minister's Office

At this juncture, the petitioner sought leave of the Court to withdraw the petition, with liberty to file a fresh petition with fresh prayers, averments and supporting grounds.

Accordingly, the bench dismissed the writ petition, reserving the liberty of the petitioner to prefer a fresh proceedings before appropriate Authority / Tribunal / Court in accordance with law.

The Court also clarified that it has not gone into the merits of the matter.

The petition was filed by Dr. Surender Singh Hooda through Advocate Aditya Hooda.

In a related development, a single bench of the Delhi HC (Justice Navin Chawla) on Wednesday sought the response of the Centre on a plea filed by one Samyak Gangwal challenging the PMO's order rejecting his RTI application stating that PM CARES was not a "public authority" within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.

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