HC allows Centre to give details in sealed cover over CHRI’s plea

The Delhi High Court on Monday permitted the Centre to submit in a sealed cover, certain information in connection with a petition by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) challenging suspension of its registration for 180 days for alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).

Justice Rekha Palli questioned the Centre’s counsel over the reason behind the request to furnish information in such a manner. “What secret is going to be in interpretation of a statute? I’m not considering suspension but interim arrangement,” the High Court remarked.

Secret document

Centre’s standing counsel Anil Soni replied that the information to be shared was in a secret document. The High Court will hear the case again on July 29.

The CHRI had moved the High Court challenging a June 7 order passed by the Home Ministry, suspending its registration for 180 days.

CHRI’s counsel had said that the suspension order is contrary to the framework of the scheme set out under the Act and even the suspension was passed without initiating any inquiry and is liable to be set aside.

The NGO has said that the suspension order was “unreasonable, manifestly arbitrary, excessive and disproportionate, on the face of it being based on wholly incorrect facts and for violating basic principles of natural justice”.

It said the suspension order has “completely paralysed” its functioning, “threatens the livelihood of its employees and casts a stigma on its reputation”.

“A 180-day suspension is a drastic measure that threatens the very existence of the petitioner (CHRI), apart from causing great harm to its reputation built painstakingly over three decades. The consequent freezing of petitioner’s receipt and utilisation bank accounts have severely restricted its planned programme activities,” its petition said.

The CHRI said it was not in a position to pay salaries to its 40 staff members and consultants, whose livelihoods depend on it, especially in these difficult times precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:09:29 AM |

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