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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Delhi HC upholds govt cancellation of NGO CHRI’s FCRA license

The Delhi HC (High Court) has turned down NGO CHRI’s plea seeking relief from suspension. The HC upheld the decision by the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs). MHA had canceled the FCRA licenses of NGOs Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and Apne Aap Women Worldwide India (AAWWI) for violating several FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) Act provisions.

The Indian Express report confirms the development:

CHRI’s license was already under suspension since last year. “It has now been canceled as the investigation has been completed and the ministry is of the opinion that given the violations, the NGO cannot be allowed to continue to receive foreign funding,” a ministry official said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had suspended CHRI’s license for 180 days last year for alleged FCRA violations. In its suspension order, the ministry had said that the CHRI had not provided information about the opening of a bank account in February 2016. It also accused CHRI of other violations of FCRA, 2010. “Further, one utilization account through which the association has been utilizing foreign contribution has not been intimated in ARs (annual reports) for FY 2016-17 and 2017-18,” the MHA order had stated…

…CHRI had moved the Delhi High Court against the order last year. Contending that the 180-day suspension threatened its “very existence” and caused great harm to its reputation, CHRI had said that freezing of its receipt and utilization bank accounts had restricted its planned program activities. CHRI was also not in a position to pay salaries to its 40 staff members and consultants, the plea had said.

The IndiaHap blog gives details regarding NGO CHRI. The blog says:

CHRI -UK acted as a conduit for funds from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation to CHRI – India. Effectively, this functioned as a circumvention of the restriction placed by the Government of India on remittance into India by this organization. There is no other way by which the data in the documents presented here can be explained. The modus operandi is to a good extent, similar (actually clearer) to the route of OSF/OSI funding Namati Inc (in New York, USA) which then sends ‘donations’ to Centre for Policy Research, Delhi, a mega FCRA-NGO, DL/231650007. However, Namati has several more donors than OSF/OSI, so its income is pooled. In the case of CHRI-UK, the single donor in 2017 makes it a clearer case than the OSF->Namati->CPR. 

(Featured Image Source: The Indian Express)

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