The apex court of India, i.e., Supreme Court, has assured to hear on Jan 24 a writ petition opposing the decision of the Ministry of Affairs refusing to renew or cancel the FCRA registration of around 6000 NGOs. On Thursday, the bench jury AM khanwilkar agreed to consider the matter on Monday after advocate Sanjay Hedge considered it on behalf of petitioners.
Who are the petitioners, and what do they seek from the court?
- The present petitioner Global Peace Initiative is a philanthropic entity operating in Texas, USA, with branches worldwide, including in India. The second petitioner is Dr. KA Paul, the founder of the petitioner organization. The petitioner opts to move to the apex court via advocate Aditya Jain and Pranjal Kishore.
- The petition seeks to oppose the public notice released on 31/Dec/2021 that prevents NGOs from renewing the registration or utilizing the overseas funding received. Further directions have been sought for the extension of validity of extension for those NGOs that failed to apply for renewal till such duration as Cornovirus continues to be a “Notified Disaster”.
- The petitioners have requested the Apex court to direct the central gov. to exercise its power conferred under Section 50 of FCRA Act, 2010 and provide relaxation to all NGOs from complying with the operation of the Act, till such duration as Cornovirus continues to be a “Notified Disaster” under the Disaster Management Act.
Concerns of petitioners in regards to license cancellation or non-renewal
- The petitioner has mentioned that the government’s decision to cancel the FCRA registration shall prevent NGOs from serving their purpose,, which hampers the millions of beneficiaries.
- The petition also argued that NGOs had made a remarkable contribution in combating the Covid-19 pandemic. The Central Government, along with Niti Aayog, has applauded their endeavor and encouraged them to serve their purpose. Cancellation of the FCRA license shall lead to the downfall of the NGO’s effort and future endeavors to aid the beneficiaries.
- The petition has further stated that the renewal application for the Missionaries of Charity was denied on account of “adverse inputs,” which seems unfair considering the underlying provisions of the Act. Also, there are no provisions that consider “adverse inputs” as a ground for the refusal or the cancellation of the registration.
- The petitioners have stated that the refusal to renew the FCRA license is illegal, and therefore, it must be set asides as soon as possible. Also, the authority’s decision to cancel the license of a prominent charitable entity will have a chilling effect on other NGOs as well.
- The petitioners further stated that the FCRA amendment, 2020, was opposed before the apex court in the case of Noel Harper & Ors. v. Union of India & Anr. And the Supreme Court had decided to reserve the judgment in Nov last year. But, as per the petitioners, MHA is disrupting the philanthropic framework of the nation by restraining NGOs from utilizing overseas funds to fuel their charitable programs.
- These decisions are somewhat contrary to the previous MHA’s decisions that were making NGOs more productive. Even during the peak of the second wave, the Ngo’s operations remained resilient and didn’t encounter any severe setbacks from the end of the ministry. However, the situation has changed drastically after the advent of the MHA decision regarding the cancelation of the registration.
The plea of the petitioner sounds fair considering the grounds they are putting in front of Apex court. Under the influence of the expired license, they will face trouble securing foreign contributions, which shall hinder their ongoing and future charitable campaign.
Read our Article:Online Renewal of FCRA Registration: A Step by Step Process