The Bombay High Court on Tuesday sought the Central government’s reply to a plea seeking deletion of name and image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the PM CARES Fund trust and from the trust’s official website.
The public interest litigation petition filed by a member of the Congress Party, Vikrant Chavan, also sought removal of the images of the national emblem and national flag from the official website of the trust.
Chavan submitted that showing those images is violative of the provisions of the Constitution of India and the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act.
The plea specifically sought a direction to the Centre to remove the words ‘Prime Minister’ from trust’s name - Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund.
The grounds stated by Chavan in the petition are as follows:
The PM CARES Fund set up to extend support and relief during emergencies or calamities, purportedly receives voluntary contributions made by private entities and no allowance from the government;
The trust does not discharge any sovereign function;
The admitted position that the trust is neither a Central government fund nor does the collected amount go to the Consolidated Fund of India;
It would be improper to use the name or image of the PM or the emblem or national flag considering it would violate Constitution and Emblems Act.
A Bench of Justices AA Sayed and SG Dige heard the matter briefly and directed the Centre to respond to the plea before posting the case for further hearing on October 25.
A petition is also pending before the Delhi High Court with a prayer to include PM CARES Fund within the category of "State" under the Constitution of India.
Alternatively, that petition has also sought a direction that if the PM Cares Fund is not held to be "State", it must stop projecting itself as if it is governmental through the use of the State emblem and the words "Prime Minister" in its name etc.
There is also a plea before the Kerala High Court seeking removal of PM's name and image from the COVID-19 vaccination certificates.