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Treat as representation plea to exempt NGOs from prior permission to receive foreign donations: HC

A PIL to exempt registered NGOs from taking prior permission under FCRA to receive foreign contributions in the form of equipment for COVID-19 was heard on Tuesday by the Delhi High Court which asked the Centre to treat the plea as a representation.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said that grant of exemptions or relaxations was a policy decision of the government.

It asked the central government to treat the petition by a trust as a representation and to decide it in accordance with the law, rules, regulations and government policy applicable to the facts of the case.

With the observation the court disposed of the plea by the Karmodaya Charitable Trust, represented by advocate Deepak Prakash.

The trust had moved the plea for exemption from prior permission under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) in order to expedite the COVID relief work in the country in the interest of the public at large.

“The process of granting prior permission for this purpose is a time consuming process, thus keeping away the registered NGOs (registered with Darpan registration with Niti Aayog) from participating in the disaster mitigation efforts.

“..it is humbly submitted that at this time, the active participation of the non-profits, philanthropies, CSR arms of corporates outside (India) who are desirous of supporting the Indian populace is hindered by these particular provisions (for prior permission),” the plea had said.

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