The prime minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund and the ministers of defence, home and finance are its ex-officio trustees.
The Centre had on March 28 set up the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund.
During the hearing in the top court on July 27, the Centre had defended the PM CARES Fund saying it is a public trust meant to receive "voluntary contributions" to fight Covid-19 pandemic and the budgetary allocations for NDRF
and SDRF are not "being touched".
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told the court that the PM CARES Fund is a "voluntary fund", while funds to the NDRF and SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund) are made available through budgetary allocations.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioner NGO, had said that they are not doubting the bona fide of anyone but the creation of the PM CARES Fund is allegedly in contravention of provisions of the Disaster Management Act.
He had claimed that an audit of the NDRF is being conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) but the government has said the audit of the PM CARES Fund will be done by private auditors.
Dave had also questioned the validity of the PM CARES Fund.
The solicitor general had said that a national
plan was prepared in 2019 and that had included the ways to deal with a "biological disaster."
On June 17, the apex court had asked the Centre to file its response on the plea, which has sought a direction that all the contributions made by individuals and institutions for the Covid-19 pandemic should be credited to the NDRF, rather than to the PM CARES Fund.
The PIL had alleged that the Centre has been "refraining from divulging information about the specific utilization of crores of rupees that have been contributed to the PM CARES Fund till date".