SC rejects Mahua Moitra’s plea to put CM Relief Funds at par with PM Cares Fund.

Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition filed by Trinamool Congress (TMC) Member of Parliament Mahua Moitra challenging the validity of the Ministry Corporate Affairs (MCA) circular excluding Chief Ministers relief fund from the purview of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The petition stated that there were disparities between PM Cares Fund  and CM Relief Funds, with the corporate donations to only the former being allowed as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spends.

On April 10, the ministry had come up with a circular which clarified that contributions made to PM Cares Fund would qualify as CSR spend. However, the MCA circular held that contributions to CM Relief Funds or State Relief Funds could not be construed as CSR spend under the Companies Act 2013.

Mahua Moitra, in her plea, argued that this distinction was clear case of discrimination and was against the principle of equality as laid down under Article 14 on the Constitution.

The plea also argued the MCA circular was violative of the Companies Act as Schedule VII of the Companies Act clearly provides for contributions for disaster management and relief to be considered as CSR.

The petition stated that the MCA circular disincetivises companies and industrial houses from contributing towards state funds, which in turn, would hurt relief and rehabilitation measures undertaken by the state governments.

The plea also argued that it takes away the autonomy of corporates to decide for themselves where they would contribute.

The SC, however, was not convinced. It observed that corporates didn’t seem to be aggrieved and that none of them had moved the top court.

The apex court observed that the issues such as the ones raised, should be debated and discussed in Parliament, not contested in court. The court concluded that it saw no merit in the plea, and was not inclined to hear the plea. Moitra withdrew her plea after the court made its position clear.

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