High Courts

Delhi High Court: While disposing a petition in which “Greenpeace India Society” (petitioner), Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) working in the area of environment is not allowed to access the funds remitted to his concerned account in IDBI Bank Ltd. for its work towards environment  and other expenses by “Green Peace International and Climate Works Foundation” (GPICWF) based on the directions of respondents (Ministry of Home Affairs) on the ground that GPICWF is on the watch list of the respondents and therefore respondents were holding inspection of account or records under Section 23 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act, 2010, (FCRA), the Court held that just stating that GPICWF is on the watch list of the respondents is not enough as no material on record is placed by the respondents for reaching such conclusion..

In the instant case, where the petitioner and respondents are represented by Sanjay Parikh and Jasmeet Singh respectively, the council for petitioner contended that no notice to petitioner was provided as to how provision of FCRA is violated and also denial of access to its bank account is violative of its Article 14 of the COI and in complete breach of principles of natural justice on the other hand council for respondent asserted that activities carried out by the petitioner are detrimental to national interest

The Court speaking for the NGOs held that NGOs often take positions which are against the policies of the Government but that in itself cannot be said to be against national interest and the Government is free to execute its polices irrespective of the different point of view of NGOs. Accordingly the Court allowed the access to the petitioner to access its FCRA account and directed the petitioner to maintain accounts and also the details of the manner of utilization of the amount so accessed in accordance with FCRA. Greenpeace India Society v. Union of India, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 6725, decided on 20.01.2015