The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to interfere with an order of the Union government suspending the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration of human rights organisation Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Bar and Bench reported.

A registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act is required to receive foreign funds. The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is headquartered in Delhi and was founded in 1987. It has published several reports underlining the need for prison reforms and highlighting alleged police excesses.

On June 7, the Union Home Ministry had suspended Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s registration under the FCRA for 180 days citing several violations of the Act, according to The Hindu. In December, the government extended the suspension for another 180 days. The non-governmental organisation had approached the Delhi High Court to challenge the suspension.

Justice V Kameswar Rao said that Section 13 (1) of the FCRA gives the power to the Union government to suspend the registration after taking into account the gravity of the alleged violations, the available evidence and the public interest that is involved.

“The scope of judicial review is very limited and should be exercised only when it is a case of mala fide, arbitrariness, or an ulterior motive,” the judge said, according to Bar and Bench.

The court held that the suspension of the registration was in consonance with the objective of the law and did not exceed its mandate.

The home ministry, in the suspension order, had stated that in 2018-19, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative did not provide information on the activities and projects for which it received foreign funds in the prescribed format. The government also alleged that the NGO did not provide online intimation to it about an account opened in the Bank of India, New Delhi, in which it received foreign contributions, The Hindu reported.

The government also alleged that an account through which the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative had been using funds was not mentioned in annual returns for 2016-17 and 2017-18.

The organisation claimed that the government took action against it without conducting an inquiry and without giving it a chance to be heard. It claimed that the suspension order was “unreasonable, manifestly arbitrary, excessive and disproportionate”.