FPJ Legal: 'No curb on use of PM Narendra Modi's name, photo, image of flag, emblem for PM CARES Fund', PMO tells Bombay High Court

The plea claimed the usage of the prime minister's photograph and the image of the national flag and emblem were in violation of the Constitution as well as The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act.

Urvi Mahajani | Updated on: Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 07:47 PM IST

PM’s name and pic from the PM CARES Fund |
PM’s name and pic from the PM CARES Fund |

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has told the Bombay High Court that there was no violation in the use of the Prime Minister’s name and photograph and the image of the “National Flag” and “Emblem” for the “PMs Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund” and its web portal.

An affidavit was filed by Pradeep Srivastava, Under Secretary, PMO, stating that the use of the national Flag is in conformity with the usage allowed by the law, as per which any citizen of the country is permitted to use them with some exceptions and there is no violation in use of national symbols for the PM-CARES fund.

The affidavit was in response to a petition filed by Congress party member Vikrant Chavan seeking deletion of the PM’s name and photograph from the PM CARES trust fund stating that it was in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of India and The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act.

The plea also sought deletion of images of the national flag and the Emblem of India from the official website of the PM CARES trust fund.

Seeking dismissal of the petition, the affidavit states that the PM’s photograph, name and National Emblem was also used in the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). “I say that PM CARES Fund and PMNRF are both chaired by the Prime Minister. As the name, photograph of Prime Minister and National Emblem are being used for the PMNRF, they are also being used for the PM CARES Fund,” reads the affidavit.

It added that the Flag Code of India, 2002 that 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 general public, private organizations, educational institutions and so on except to the extent provided in the Act.

The PM is Chairperson (ex-officio) of the PM CARES Fund and the Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance ate ex-officio trustees. “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 smooth succession to the trusteeship,” adds the affidavit.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik has kept the plea for hearing after three weeks.

The PM Cares Fund was set up on March 27, 2020 as a public charitable trust to extend support and relief for a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency or calamity. The trust fund claims to consist of voluntary contributions made by individuals/ organisations and does not get any budgetary support from the government. Besides, the contributions made would qualify for 100 per cent exemption under the Income Tax Act.

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Published on: Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 07:47 PM IST