Can PMCARES fund be declared as ‘State’?: Petitioner argues for Article 226 to encompass public accountability

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The Delhi High Court, on Tuesday, heard a plea to declare the Prime Minister Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PMCARES fund) as state under Article 12 of the Constitution of India.

While, Mr. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, appearing for the Union of India was predisposed, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan appearing for Petitioner Samayak Gangwal made his submissions before the court, traversing and emphasising upon various contours of the PMCARES fund which allegedly point to “substantial governmental control” over the fund, for eg:- the Board of Trustees being ex officio members of the Parliament, the use of the Indian emblem, the use of Prime Minister's photograph, the use of PMO website, etc. 

The relief sought by the Petitioner was to declare the fund as "State" under Article 12 of the Constitution of India.
A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Mr. Vipin Sanghi J. and Mr. Navin Chawla J., while hearing the petition, inquired as to whether the Petitioner would be entitled to a relief of declaration without any further consequential reliefs. 

"Can the relief of declaration be sought under Article 226 of the Constitution?", inquired Hon'ble Mr. Navin Chawla J.

At this juncture, Senior Adv. Shyam Diwan cited Supreme Court judgement titled "K. K. Kochunni v State of Madras" (AIR 1959 SC 725) to show that declaratory reliefs were contemplated within writ jurisdiction of the court. 

However, the Delhi High Court, prima facie, distinguished the facts of K. K. Kochunni's case with that of the Petitioner's by stating that the reliefs being sough in K. K. Kochunni's case were not in vacuum and were accompanied with consequential reliefs. Mr. Shyam Diwan on the other hand argued for the expansion of Article 226 of the Constitution to include public accountability. 

The matter has been listed on 12th July.