The PIL says the fund does not discharge any regal, governmental or sovereign functions and is “not the offspring or the blood and bones or the voice and hands of the Government” so the use of the title ‘Prime Minister’, his photo, the national emblem and flag violates the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act and The State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act.
When the PIL came for hearing before a bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Makarand Karnik, additional solicitor general Anil Singh sought time to file the Centre’s reply and asked that the matter be heard after Christmas vacations. The judges noted that the Centre has not replied to the petition since the last hearing. The CJ said, “File your affidavit.” On Oct 12, Singh had sought time to take instructions. The judges directed the reply be filed on December 23 and posted the hearing for January 3.
The PIL was filed by Thane district Congress president Vikrant Chavan. Modi is a respondent as he is chairman of the Fund. The petition says Modi executed a deed constituting the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, which is purported to be a public charitable trust. It says Modi, a repository of Constitutional trust, is expected to preserve the sanctity of names, emblems and pictorial representations. But they were used to appeal for donations on digital and traditional media. The petition says “it (PM Cares Fund) is not Government of India fund and the amount collected by it does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India.” By March 31, 2020 over Rs 3,076 crore was collected.