The Union government has been asked by the Bombay High Court to respond to a plea seeking removal of the Prime Minister’s name and photograph and also removal of images of the national flag and the Emblem of India from the official website of ‘PM CARES fund’.
On Tuesday, a division bench of Justices AA Sayed and SG Dige asked the additional solicitor general Anil Singh, appearing for the Union government, to file the reply by October 25. The HC was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Congress party member Vikrant Chavan. The plea states that the use of these images and the PM’s name and photo is in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of India and the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act.
The PM Cares Fund was set up on March 27, 2020, as a public charitable trust in order 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 to the trust fund would qualify for 100 per cent exemption under the Income Tax Act.
The PIL reads, “The trust does not discharge any governmental or sovereign functions. It is an admitted position that the trust is not a Government of India fund and the amount collected by it does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India.”
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