Delhi HC refuses to defreeze NGO’s a/c to use foreign funds

Delhi HC refuses to defreeze NGO's a/c to use foreign funds
Delhi HC refuses to defreeze NGO’s a/c to use foreign funds

The Delhi High Court today refused to defreeze an NGO’s account enabling it to use its foreign funds as the Centre claimed the decision not to renew the foreign funding registration under FCRA was taken in “public interest”.

“I am not inclined to give any interim relief with regard to defreezing of the petitioner account. I will have to hear it and than decide the issue,” Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said.

It further observed that Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in their sealed cover report, which was perused by it, has stated that they have inputs of the intelligence agencies in relation to the renewal of licence and the foreign funding.

The court, however, asked the MHA to file its counter affidavit within three weeks asking it to give reasons for refusing to renew registration of the NGO, Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns (CPSC), under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The court has fixed the matter for further hearing on January 17.

Central government standing counsel Anil Soni, appearing for the MHA, defended the decision saying it was done in the “public interest”.

“We have right to prohibit foreign contribution which are likely to affect prejudicially the public interest and also the friendly relation with any foreign state,” the MHAs’ counsel said.

He also said that the government was exempted from giving reasons for refusing to renew the FCRA registrations.

Soni also told the court that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had issued notice to the Home Secretary after taking suo-motu cognisance of the issue, and has sought a report within six weeks.

The MHA has been asked by NHRC to provide details of the number of NGOs of Human Rights defenders that have not been allowed renewal of licence and the foreign funds received by them over the past three years, as well as the reason for non-renewal, he said.

The lawyer also said how the matter could be taken up by the commission when the high court was dealing with it.

( Source – PTI )

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