Delhi(PTI): Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking a stay on the assembly…
Delhi(PTI): In a relief for Greenpeace India, Delhi High Court on Wednesday allowed it to use two of its accounts for the purpose of receiving and utilising fresh domestic donations for its day-to-day functioning, telling the government it cannot choke them of their funds.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher also allowed the NGO to liquidate its fixed deposits, saying these and fresh donations be used for its aims and objectives and in accordance with law. The court said the source of the fixed deposits could be determined by the government in the course of its probe and directed it to decide within eight weeks the NGO’s application under Rule 14 of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules (FCRR) which says that 25% of the unutilised amount in the FCRA account can be used with government approval.
The government had cancelled Greenpeace’s registration under Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) on grounds of allegedly violating the norms by opening five accounts to use foreign donations without informing concerned authorities. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also told the court that the NGO had violated FCRA by merging its foreign donations with domestic contributions. The court also pulled up the banks with whom Greenpeace had domestic accounts for denying access to it despite an earlier high court order allowing them to use the accounts.
It asked the banks to explain why its order of January this year was violated. “Do you go by orders of the court or that of the government,” it asked and added “you have to follow court’s judgement.” On Tuesday, the MHA had defended the cancellation of FCRA registration of Greenpeace and said the NGO has already applied for seeking benefits under Rule 14 which has not been disclosed to the court. It had also claimed that the NGO was not using the donations for the purpose they were received.
Greenpeace had told the court that due to freeze on its domestic accounts, it has lost donations to the extent of Rs 1.25 crore only this month which were made by its Indian contributors. It had also claimed that if the court does not intervene, then it would lose the same amount of domestic donations in June as well.5