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PMCARES Fund

  • IASbaba
  • July 9, 2022
  • 0
Indian Polity & Constitution
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In News: The Delhi High Court stayed a Central Information Commission (CIC) order directing the Income Tax Department to provide copies of all documents submitted by PM CARES Fund while applying for exemption under the Income Tax Act, and file notings granting the approval.

  • Hearing a petition by the department against the CIC order, the court took note of a submission that the question whether PM CARES Fund is a public authority is currently pending before a division bench of the court.

Background

  • The RTI applicant, had sought the information from I-T Department in May 2020.
  • While applicant’s RTI application was rejected by the authorities on the ground that PM CARES Fund is not covered under the RTI Act, the CIC said the issue regarding definition of public authority has been unnecessarily dragged into the matter, as the applicant has not filed the RTI application with PM Cares Fund but with the public authority itself.
  • It directed the I-T Department to disclose copies of documents submitted in the exemption application by PM CARES Fund, and of file notings granting the approval.
  • The I-T Department argued that the CIC has failed to consider the statutory bar contained in Section 138(1)(b) of IT Act, which provides the authorities the discretion whether information relating to any assessee should be disclosed in public interest or not.
  • I-T dept also stated additionally, there is a further bar, which states that his decision will be final and shall not be called into question in any court of law.
  • Wherever a statute provides for such a restriction, the courts have consistently held that the issue which is in the exclusive domain of the authority specified in the statute, the same issue cannot therefore be open to examination by another statutory authority under another legislation being the RTI Act 2005 herein.

Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund)

  • Established in March 2020
  • It has been registered as a Public Charitable Trust.
  • The trust deed of PM CARES Fund has been registered under the Registration Act, 1908.
  • Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman 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.
  • The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees shall have the power to nominate three trustees to the Board of Trustees who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy.

Funding:

  • The fund consists entirely of voluntary contributions from individuals/organisations and does not get any budgetary support.

Exemptions:

  • Donations to PM CARES Fund would qualify for 100% exemption under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • Donations to PM CARES Fund will also qualify to be counted as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure under the Companies Act, 2013
  • PM CARES Fund has also got exemption under the FCRA and a separate account for receiving foreign donations has been opened.

Source: Indian Express

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