HC stays order on Greenpeace

In a temporary relief to Greenpeace India, the Madras High Court on Friday stayed for four weeks an order passed by the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies (RoS) cancelling its registration earlier this month.

The issue pertains to a petition moved by the international environmental NGO, challenging a June 16 show-cause notice issued by the RoS alleging violations of the Societies Registration Act by the organisation. The RoS has made various allegations against Greenpeace India, including that the memorandum and by-laws of the organisation were in violation of the Act and there was a difference in the amounts disclosed in its balance sheet and the submissions made under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.

When the petition was pending, the RoS passed an order, dated November 06, cancelling the registration of the NGO.

The order alleged that Greenpeace India did not file annual returns for 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2009-10 within six months from the date of the annual general body meeting.

When the petition came up before Justice M.M. Sundresh, the petitioner alleged that the order of the RoS went against the principles of natural justice and prayed for an interim stay. Concurring with the contentions, the judge granted an interim stay for four weeks.