22 Nov 2022 4:43 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs cancelling/refusing to renew the registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 of almost 6,000 non-governmental organisations to November 21. A Bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy, in the order, noted that the matter was substantially covered by...
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs cancelling/refusing to renew the registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 of almost 6,000 non-governmental organisations to November 21.
A Bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy, in the order, noted that the matter was substantially covered by the Judgement Noel Harper vs Union of India, which upheld the FCRA Amendment Act 2020.
"The Advocate for the petitioners and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta agrees that the matter has been substantially covered in the judgement of this court in Noel Harper vs Union of India. On the said grounds, the petition is dismissed."
On April 8, this year, Justices AM Khanwilkar, Abhay S Oka, CT Ravikumar had upheld the provisions of the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020, which places restrictions on ability of NGOs to raise and use foreign funds in the said judgement.
The Bench also granted liberty to the petitioners to file a representation before the concerned authority if any other ancillary prayers remain in the plea.
During the previous hearing, Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde had argued that most of the issues were covered by Noel Harper judgement which upheld the FCRA Amendment Act. He had then requested the Court to dispose of the petition granting him liberty to make a representation to the government for ancillary issues which arose after FCRA amendment Act.
The Bench, however, declined the request stating that they would have to go through the Noel Harper Judgement to see whether the issues actually have been covered or not.
The petitioner NGO Global Peace Initiative sought to strike down a Public Notice dated December 31, 2021 to the extent that it does not permit organizations whose applications for renewal of registration have been rejected, to not accept or utilize the foreign funds received.
The petition argued that the work done by these NGOs have helped millions of Indians and the sudden and arbitrary cancellation of FCRA registration of thousands of these NGOs violates the rights of the organizations, their workers as well as the millions of Indians who they serve.
Further, the role of NGOs in helping combat the pandemic has been acknowledged by the Central Government, the Niti Aayog and the Prime Minister's office itself. Therefore, a cancellation of the licenses of over 6000 NGOs would hamper relief efforts and lead to denial of aid to citizens in need.
This apart, the petition seeks to direct the Central Government to exercise its powers under Section 50 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 and exempt all Non-Government Organizations from the operation of the Act, till such time as Covid-19 continues to be a 'notified disaster' under the Disaster Management Act.
Case Title: Global Peace Initiative & Anr vs Union of India & Ors | Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s). 21/2022
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