No more foreign funds for Indira Jaising's NGO

No more foreign funds for Indira Jaising's NGO

Institution given 30 days to respond to the notice by MHA

No more foreign funds for Indira Jaising's NGO

Noted lawyer Indira Jaising-led 'Lawyers Collective' will not be allowed to receive foreign funds with the government suspending its licence for six months on charges of misusing donations.

The order issued by Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday found fault with Indira for accepting remuneration of Rs 96.60 lakh from the NGO for her services at a time when she was functioning as Additional Solicitor General for the government between July 2009 and May 2014.

The move against Lawyers Collective came against the backdrop of similar actions against Greenpeace India and Teesta Setalvad-led Sabrang Trust. 

The NGO has been given 30 days to respond to the notice and if the MHA is not satisfied with the response, it can cancel the registration.

"It is really surprising, that how a senior law officer, such as an ASG can simultaneously be and for such a long period be on the rolls of a private entity, being paid (out of foreign contribution) for undisclosed purposes by the entity," the order said. The NGO did not obtain appropriate clearance for giving remuneration for the lawyer. In curious observations, it wondered why she herself should have agreed for such an arrangement.

Noting that this raises "pertinent questions", the order under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 said she travelled to Nepal and the United States using the funds provided by the NGO without government's authorisation.

Besides, it also questioned the money given to Lawyers Collective trustee Anand Grover, who is Indira's husband, for travel for the purpose of work as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Right to Health.

The order also said that foreign funds were used to lobby with MPs and thereby influencing political process and Parliamentary institutions. Another violation cited by the MHA is the payment to foreigners for professional services and travelling expenses. The foreigners visited India on tourist visa to assist Grover. The order said Rs 22.53 lakh was spent for Grover’s air travel.

‘Victimised for fighting against govt’
Indira Jaising termed the suspension of licence of her NGO as a "blatant attempt to victimise" the organisation and an "act of vindictiveness" on the part of the NDA government, PTI reports. "This is being done because of the cases that Lawyers Collective (LC) and its trustees, Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, are involved in, including but are not limited to Sanjiv Bhatt, Yakub Memon and Priya Pillai," a statement said. The association also accused the government of leaking the notice suspending the NGO's licence to media. The Lawyers' Collective intends to challenge the order as unconstitutional and required to be set aside, the statement said. 

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