Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday sought the Union government’s reply to a petition seeking deletion of the name ‘Prime Minister’ from the PM CARES Fund trust and also deletion of the PM’s photo as well as images of the national flag and the emblem of India from the trust’s official website.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Congress member Vikrant Chavan said this was violative of the provisions of the Constitution of India and The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act.

The PIL, which was heard by a division bench of Justices A A Sayed and S G Dige, sought a direction to the Centre to remove the name ‘Prime Minister’ from the fund trust’s name- Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund.

The plea also sought deletion of the photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the emblem of India and the national flag from the trust’s website.

According to the petition, this was in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of India and The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act.

Also read | PM CARES not government fund; works with transparency: HC told

The plea claimed the trust was set up on March 27, 2020, as a public charitable trust to extend support and relief for a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency or calamity.

The fund trust claims to consist of voluntary contributions made by individuals/organisations and does not get any budgetary support from the government and the contributions made would qualify for 100 per cent exemption under the Income Tax Act.

The trust does not discharge any governmental or sovereign functions. It is an admitted position that the trust is not a Government of India fund and the amount collected by it does not go to the Consolidated Fund of India, the petition said.

In such a position it would be improper for the trust to use the name of the Prime Minister or his photograph and the image of the national flag and the Emblem of India on its official website.

The high court on Tuesday heard the matter briefly and directed Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the Centre, to respond to the plea and posted it for hearing on October 25.

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