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Nagpur: Do not donate if you have doubts, says HC while rejecting PIL questioning PM CARES fund

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, on August 26, rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by city-based advocate Arvind Waghmare, who questioned the operation of PM CARES Fund and sought declaration of details of receipts and expenditure from the PM CARES Fund on its official website. 

Waghmare had approached the court asking it to issues directives to PM CARES to immediately appoint/nominate three other trustees on the fund, with at least two of them belonging to opposition members of Parliament to have proper check and balance,to strengthen the confidence of public and for transparency. 

Apart from the appointment of SARC Associates as auditors, advocate Waghmare requested appointment of independent auditor only after formation of full board trustees, as per guidelines. Waghmare, who claimed to be a donor to the fund, submitted that the scheme of fund itself required PM Modi to nominate three eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, etc, as other trustees, but no appointments were made in terms of the trust deed. He also questioned the validity of decisions, which have been taken by the fund so far. 

The court dismissed each petition filed by Waghmare and later advised him or any other donor to any public charitable trust to choose the discretion like John Falstaff, a cowardly Shakespearean character, to not donate if they have any doubt about its proper utilisation.

Additional solicitor general Anil Singh strongly opposed the PIL claiming that it was more of a publicity interest litigation with underlying political agenda. Citing the fact that Waghmare had contributed an amount of Rs 1,001 to the fund on May 8 and filed the PIL on May 9, claiming to be a contributor, Singh questioned the intentions of petitioner. 

Waghmares PIL was dismissed by a bench compromising Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Anil Killor on the grounds that the fund was a public charitable trust and was governed by its own registered deed of trust, which does not receive any government fund or budgetary support. 

The will of the founding trustees and not the wishful thinking of the outsiders in such a case is what matters, is what prevails over desire of strangers and is what will receive reverence from law as long as the will is expressed by the trustees in tandem with law about which there can be no dispute here, the bench said. 

There is yet another perspective to look at the prayer. The contributions, which are to be made to the fund are voluntary in nature and there is no compulsion for anyone to donate. If any person has any doubt about the application of the money, he intends to donate, may we remind such person of the words of Falstaff, a cowardly character portrayed by William Shakespeare in his play Henry IV that, The better part of Valour is Discretion; in the which better part, I have saved my life. Here ?life? can be taken to be money. So, such a person would well be within his right to not donate his money to the fund. From this perspective also no insistence can be made by a person donating his money in his discretion upon making of public disclosures of utilisation of the fund money on a public platform, bypassing the proper platform provided under the Trust Act applicable to a charitable trust like the PM CARES Fund.

As rightly submitted by Additional Solicitor General of India (Anil Singh), this relief (public disclosure of receipts and disbursement of funds money) is already adequately taken care of by the provisions made in the Registration Act and Trust Act applicable to the fund. The real question is why the public disclosure and why not the public disclosure. Proper utilisation of the fund money sourced from proper persons can be seen to be more than fulfilled in the present case by registration of fund as charitable trust and appointment of a chartered accountant who would be bound to balance and audit accounts of the funds in accordance with the provisions in the Trust Act, the bench further said, adding, In the Trust Act, there is already provided an effective mechanism for achieving the purpose for which the public disclosure (about receipts of and disbursement from the fund money), has been sought. Any person having interest in the trust is free to resort to that mechanism for redressal of his grievance.

The petitioner contends that as three trustees haven’t been nominated, the present board is incomplete and as such it is incapable of taking any decision. So, the decision to appoint the CA firm is without the wisdom of the board. The power of the honourable Chairperson of the fund to nominate three eminent persons as trustees is enabling in nature, not mandating him to nominate them always and at all times. That being so, no writ can lie to compel the authority to exercise the discretion and that too the way it is desired by a party. Decision of the board of trustees to appoint M/s SARC Associates as CA is taken in its wisdom and knowledge and upon application of mind and therefore can’t be assailed, the bench further added. 


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Nagpur News

Purva Kothari’s jewellery collection sparkles at ‘Intrea’ exhibition in Nagpur

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Radhika Dhawad | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Nagpur

Amid festivities, jewellery designer Purva Kothari conducted a two-day exhibition of diamond studded jewellery at Jawaharlal Darda Art Gallery in Nagpur on October 1 and 2.

Purva, in the past, has enticed celebrities including Director at Reliance Industries Nita Ambani, Varsha Patel wife of former minister Praful Patel, Founder at Videocon Venugopal Dhoot, Founder Chairman at GMR Group GM Rao and endorsements from Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saina Nehwal, to name a few.

Also watch: All you need to know about diamonds, jewellery | Interview with designer Purva Darda Kothari

Also read: When Lata Mangeshkar got offended by Dilip Kumar and didn’t speak to him for 13 years

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Nagpur News

September 30, 2022 | Nagpur News | नागपुर समाचार | Hindi News Bulletin | Nation Next

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Avani Arya | Nagpur

September 30, 2022 | Nagpur News | नागपुर समाचार | Hindi News Bulletin | Nation Next

Also Read: Nagpur citizens to revel The Raaas Garba next year!

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Nagpur News

Nagpur citizens to revel The Raaas Garba next year!

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Nation Next Newsroom | Nagpur

The Raaas (2018)

Since The Raaas enchanted and enthralled Nagpur with its quality garba in its first year in 2018, the demand for encore has been reverberating the city. To cater to the huge public demand, the organisers of the king of garbas have decided to continue The Raaas next year on. Like its first year, The Raaas Garba will be presented to Nagpur in association with Nation Next in 2023. Mahesh Kukreja, the key organiser said, “Because of some reasons, we, earlier, thought of giving the event a break.”

He added, “Then COVID-19 struck the world. Now we plan to continue it from next year onwards. While I express my gratitude to Nagpurians to make the event a huge hit, I request the city’s garba revellers to not get fooled as a few garbas are falsely claiming to be The Raaas. We’ll be back next year for sure!”

Also read: Mesmerising sunset hues at Ramtek’s Ambala Lake in Nagpur

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