FCRA registration of human rights NGO cancelled

The Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi. File

The Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi. File

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled the FCRA registration of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), an international NGO that works for human rights in Commonwealth countries.

FCRA registration is mandatory for any NGO or association to receive foreign funds.

The NGO’s Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) registration was suspended for 180 days on June 7, 2021 due to alleged violations. The suspension was extended again in December for 180 days.

CHRI moved the Delhi High Court against the suspension, but the court in February refused to interfere with MHA’s decision. MHA has now cancelled the registration without waiting for the second 180-day period to lapse. A counsel for CHRI said that the cancellation came a day before the Delhi High Court was expected to hear a review plea against the suspension order on April 20-21.

“The case never came up for hearing as the petition against suspension became infructuous due to the cancellation order by MHA,” counsel said.

A senior CHRI representative said that they would be challenging the cancellation order, and the grounds appeared to be similar to those mentioned for suspension.

“It was not like CHRI was accused of political activism or proselytism. The suspension was on procedural grounds. We responded to MHA’s query, but they never responded,” said the representative.

Among the violations alleged by the MHA in its suspension order against CHRI is that the activities or projects for which foreign contribution has been received and utilised have not been given in the prescribed format for the FYs 2018- 2019. Political commentator and author Sanjoy Hazarika recently stepped down as the international director of CHRI. Eminent social rights activist Maja Daruwala is a senior advisor with CHRI.

The FCRA registration of another Kolkata based association, Apne Aap Women Worldwide (AAWW) that works in the field of sex trafficking, has also been cancelled.

Nearly 6,000 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) had ceased to operate from January 1 as MHA refused to renew their application or the NGOs did not apply for one. There are 16,888 FCRA registered NGOs as on Monday, down from over 22,000 on December 31.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 11:55:32 pm |