Centre defends action against Greenpeace India

Centre defends action against Greenpeace India

Delhi High Court puts off ruling till today

Centre defends action against Greenpeace India

The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday defended its action to suspend the permission to receive foreign funds in the Delhi High Court saying the NGO opened five accounts to utilise its foreign funds without informing authorities.

While Greenpeace denied the allegations through a statement, the court postponed its ruling until Wednesday on whether it would be given temporary relief by unblocking its bank accounts.
In the affidavit submitted before Justice Rajiv Shakdher, the ministry said Greenpeace violated Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by merging its foreign donations with domestic contributions.

On the question of release of funds for NGO’s day-to-day functioning, the ministry said statutory remedy is available under Rule 14 of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR).
As per the rule, 25 per cent of the unutilised amount in the FCRA account can be used with the government’s approval.

Greenpeace has already applied for seeking benefits under Rule 14 which has not been disclosed to the court, the ministry said while claiming that it had not used the donations for the purpose they were received. During the hearing, Greenpeace India told the court that due to freeze on its domestic accounts, it has lost donations of around Rs 1.25 crore only this month, which were made by its Indian contributors. If the court does not intervene, it said, it would lose the same amount of domestic donations in June as well.

It also argued that the Rule 14 only pertained to the FCRA account and not to the domestic accounts and disputed the government’s contention with respect to non-disclosure of domestic accounts.

The ministry’s response came after the High Court on May 18 sought its response.
Greenpeace India has been served a showcause notice last month by the government, asking why its registration should not be cancelled on the ground that it had violated laws regarding foreign donations. The NGO has approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing the proceedings against it.