NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Union government's response to a PIL seeking a direction to the Centre to transfer the money in PM Cares Fund to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to fight the Covid-19
and provide help to those affected by the disease and the lockdown.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave
sought 10 minutes to argue the points raised by
‘Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL)’ through advocate
. But barely three minutes into it, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay K Kaul and
M R Shah
decided to issue notice to the Centre even as solicitor general Tushar Mehta interrupted by requesting the court not to issue notice while promising that the government would file its response to the petition.
This angered Dave, who complained that the judges were not listening to him and allowing the SG to interject. The bench said, "If you (Dave) are here here only to lose your temper, then we cannot help it. We appreciated the issue raised by you and issued notice, yet you are complaining that you are not being heard. This is not done. Some times we do not even hear a petitioner's counsel but issue notice. Can the counsel then complain that he was not being heard?"
CPIL said the national disaster management plan was of 2019 and it did not deal comprehensively with the situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. It had no mention of measures like lockdown, containment zones, social distancing etc. A part of the national plan dealt with 'biological and public health emergencies', which did not mention any of the measures that were being taken in an ad hoc manner today, the petitioner said.
It sought a direction to the Centre to prepare, notify and implement a national plan, envisaged under Section 11, read with Section 10, of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to lay down minimum standards of relief under Section 12 of DMA to be provided to people affected by Covid-19 as well as the lockdown.
It also sought a direction to the Centre that all contributions from individuals and institutions should be credited to the NDRF rather than the PM’s fund and all money collected by the PM’s fund should be transferred to the NDRF.