Constitutional Validity of PM National Relief Fund and PM Cares Fund

The Prime Minister plays an important role in the administration of our country. Article 74(1) states that there shall be a Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister shall be their Head. Even the Prime Minister shall aid and advice the President and the President shall act according to such advice. Prime minister occupies a leader position in any parliamentary system of the Indian government in power. After our country got Independence, the prime minister’s office started working as a non-constitutional and non-statutory body. But after that in a few years, the PMO emerged as an institution which is completely in policymaking. It was also known as the parallel government. With a change of government PMO also gets changed with time, it does not always remain the same.

Constitution of India is called the Fundamental Law of India, it is also called the Supreme Deed of Independent India and also known as Living Document of Nation. Constitution also defines the powers and functions of Prime minister and president and vice president. It is clearing the doctrine, Powers of Separation, which explaining the functional system of rules, structures and principles of our nation. Our Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26th November 1949 and become effective on 26th January 1950. Our constitution has been drawn from various sources, it has 22 parts and 8 schedules and each part has their different roles in it. In its Part V, it deals with “The Union” which deals with the power and functions, the appointment of the President, Vice President and Prime Minister.

As we know the world is under this Corona epidemic. Today, everywhere in the world this corona epidemic is a very high rate, and for this, every country is taking different measures in order to end this epidemic disease. There is a scheme of lockdowns also been introduced by our government but because of this lockdown, many negative things took place like our economy fell down and low-class members who are not able to get food for themselves the food was being provided to them. The funds for these things were been taken from the taxes which were already collected by the government but they are being used frequently as the population of our country is very high.

Disasters demand a high administrative measures from the government to protect the public. Many a times it requires other than taxes a public spending on healthcare, maintenance allowances, and different packages. For a developing economy, such measures are often seen to be financial burden to the nation and leads to a trouble. It becomes difficult to the government to circulate funds in a short time frame. In 1948 as the Faced need arose to help out the displaced persons from Pakistan after partition. So at that time there was an ad-hoc solution created by PMO in 1948 through the creation of the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) which is basically a fund open for the direct contributions from the citizens of our nations.

So, one was launched in 1948 (PMNRF) which is much before when our parliament was born. The other in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic is at high rate because of which government enforced lockdown and introduced the PM care fund. In many ways, the PM National Relief Fund (PMNRF) which was launched in 1948 by Late PM Jawaharlal Nehru or the PM CARES fund launched by Present PM Narendra Modi in 2020 is the same means to achieve the common ends which focus in lowering the consequences of untold disasters or any epidemic which we our country facing nowadays. Indian Government has set up this charitable trust nowadays in order to deal with an objective of the threat of coronavirus.

The PM Cares fund is although similar to that of PMNRF, however there are objectives that distinguish it from the other.  The PMNRF is used to deal with the victims of natural calamities besides riots, accidents and medical insurgencies; and PM care fund which is founded by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is founded to collect the funds for public health to fight against the Covid-19. Although both the fund are same in many ways only the resultant expenditure and beneficiary vary accordingly. So, in order to enable the focused relief, the fund was established and these donations are collected through online platforms and individual or organization willing to can donate.

This charitable trust receives the voluntary contributions from individuals and organizations. It was launched by the PM through a thread of tweets on 28th March, 2020. It was made to get the contribution from citizens of this nation to fight against this epidemic. These donations have been made tax free, and also counted against company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations. The Centre has refused to use the foreign aid to deal with natural calamity such as the Kerala floods. The Prime Minister of the nation handles the fund in his official capacity, and he has nominated three eminent persons in relevant fields to the Board of Trustees which are: The Ministers of Defence, Home Affairs and Finance are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.

Validity of PM National relief Fund and PM Cares Fund

PMNRF was formed in January 1948, in respect to accept public donations for the care of Partition refugees. It is now used to provide immediate relief to the families of those killed in natural calamities or they are major victims of accidents and rots and support medical expenses for acid attack victims and others. It was also being managed by the same authorities managing up the Pm Care fund which includes the Prime Minister and his deputy, the Finance Minister, the Congress President. The PMNRF was stated recognized as a ’trust’ under the Income Tax Act, 1961 contribution to the fund has been granted exemption from Income Tax under section 10 and 139 of the act[1]. It is also been exempted from the Foreign Contribution Act, 2010.

On the other hand PM care fund was established as we know during the period of lockdown in our country for many purpose like: to undertake and support relief or assistance of any kind relating to a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency, calamity or distress, either man-made or natural, including the creation or upgradation of healthcare or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, funding relevant research or any other type of support. To render financial assistance, provide grants of payments of money or take such other steps as may be deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees to the affected population. These all are the objectives stated under PM care fund this act.[2]

Although PMNRF is audited by the CAG which is known Comptroller and Auditor General and these are taxable from income taxable under section 80(G). But in case of PM care fund it would not be audited by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) since these are private donations to a medical trust. PM care fund also exempted under FCRA and there is separate account for receiving all foreign country donations. Many questions arose against this fund by the opposition, they raised the questions regarding its legality and constitutionality of PM care fund on the same lines with slight changes, and it is nothing other than presenting the people with some ‘showpiece’ measure and telling the people that the government is taking a huge measure to fight the pandemic.

These statements are made because till now the PMNRF is far less transparent than the PM care and still nobody knows what the guidelines that govern the PMRF till 1985 was of congress party and it is a personal fund not a decision made by a Government of India at that time and in 2016 the case was being filed against it which was Assem Takyar vs. Prime Minister National Relief Fund [3]it was contented that

“It finds its genesis in a personal appeal made through a press note dated 24.01.1948 by the then Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. This, according to the Fund, was a personal appeal/request/decision and not an order/decision made by the government of India. The fund further contented that this appeal/request/decision was not a decision of the Central Government and was thus not made in the name of the Hon’ble Governor General of India, the head of the Central Executive, as was then required for decision of Central Government.”

Due split in the division the decision was not reached as to the status of PMNRF. Even the access to the information of PMNRF is private. In 1985 when Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister, he authorized the managing power to the PMO. So, the PM from there has the power to appoint the secretary of the funds. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi has demand Rs 6,500 crores and donations which are coming shall be transferred to PMNRF instead of PM care fund to fight against this Corona Virus. As there are no guidelines of PMNRF and it was ‘deemed a trust’, it has functioned without a title deed till date.

Although PM care fund is far more transparent as compared to PMNRF, both funds are on same constitutionality in respect of Article 266, 283 and 284 of the constitution. Article 266(2) states that “all other money (other than consolidated and contingency fund of India) received by or on behalf of the government shall be entitled to the Public Account of India.” [4]Article 283 (1) states that “The custody of the Consolidated Fund of India and the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into such Funds, the withdrawal of moneys therefrom, the custody of public moneys other than those credited to such Funds received by or on behalf of the Government of India, their payment into the public account of India and the withdrawal of moneys from such account and all other matters connected with or ancillary to matters aforesaid shall be regulated by law made by Parliament, and, until provision in that behalf is so made, shall be regulated by rules made by the President.” [5]

The Consolidated Fund and public accounts under Article 266 (1) is the storing house of all funds and public accounts stated under Article 266(2) are the residuary corpus of government deposit. Contingency Fund under Article 267 is in the nature of an imprest for unexpected expenditures, Article 266 (2) read with 284 (a) provides that the amount received or deposited with the government, other than revenues or public amount raised, are payable into a public account. Hence, public donations, deposited are administered through the governmental control and this is the constitutionality of these funds.


After analyzing both the funds it been concluded that neither of them is perfect, not even suit against PMNRF was filled even the suit against PM care fund was also filed to check the constitutionality of it under Manohar Lal Sharma v. Narendra Damodardas Modi & Ors(2020), in which the petition filed was dismissed. Still both are on same track there is no such difference between them both lacks somewhere. But still as the situation in our country is high due to this corona disease so no such question is being raised by normal citizen regarding it and the government is using those funds in many medical things, so on legal point of view no questions were raised.



[1] Section 10 and 139 of Income Tax and under PMNRF website.

[2] Objectives of PM care fund as per the PM care fund and guidelines and brochure

[3] LPA 231/2016 & C.M. 13063/2016 (for stay)

[4] Article 266 of The Constitution of India  1949

[5] Article 283 of The Constitution of India  1949

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