PM Modi image used for PM Cares since it is being used for PM National Relief Fund: Centre to Bombay High Court

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The Central government has opposed the plea before the Bombay High Court seeking deletion of name and image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the PM CARES Fund Trust and from the trust’s official website [Vikrant Chavan v. PM Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund].

The affidavit filed by Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Under Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office, stated that PM Cares Fund and Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) are both chaired by the Prime Minister.

As the name and photograph of the Prime Minister and National emblem are being used for the PMNRF, they are being used for PM Cares Fund too, the affidavit said.

The affidavit was filed in response to the PIL petition filed by a member of the Congress Party, Vikrant Chavan, who also sought for removal of the images of the national emblem and national flag from the official website of the trust.

Chavan had submitted in his plea filed through advocate Sagar Joshi 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.

During the hearing of the matter on December 13, 2021, the High Court had said that the plea raises an “important” issue and had issued notice to the Central government.

The affidavit by the Central government stated that the Flag Code of India which brings together all laws, conventions, practices and instructions regarding display of the National flag provides that there shall be no restriction on the display of the flag by the members of general public, private organizations, educational institutions, etc. except to the extent provided in the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.

The affidavit also said that the petitioner has not exhausted all his administrative remedies on the issues raised by him before approaching the High Court.

The remedies, the Centre claimed, are available under the Emblems & Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act and Rules; and State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act and Rules.

Responding to a contention in the plea, the affidavit also pointed out that Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairperson of the PM Cares Fund and Ministers of Defence, Home Affairs, Finance are ex-officio trustees of the Funds and board consists of public officials merely for administrative convenience and for smooth succession to the trusteeship.

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