The Union home ministry has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration of human rights organisation Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, The Times of India reported on Tuesday. The registration is mandatory for receiving foreign funds.
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative had allegedly failed to provide details about some projects for which it received foreign funds in its annual report, unidentified officials in the ministry told the newspaper.
The organisation has also been accused of using foreign funds received in India, for its projects outside the country. The NGO also allegedly provided consultation to a foreign entity and showed the professional fees as foreign contributions, the home ministry officials said.
On June 7, the Centre had suspended Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s registration under the FCRA for 180 days citing several violations of the Act. In December, the government extended the suspension for another 180 days. The non-governmental organisation then approached the Delhi High Court to challenge the suspension.
On February 14, the High Court refused to interfere with the Centre’s order.
The court had said that Section 13 (1) of the FCRA Act 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,” it had said.
The home ministry has cancelled the registration before the second 180-day period lapsed. The decision came before the Delhi High Court was slated to hear a review plea against the suspension order on April 20-21, a lawyer of the NGO told The Hindu.
“The case never came up for hearing as the petition against suspension became infructuous due to the cancellation order by MHA,” the lawyer said.
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is headquartered in Delhi and was founded in 1987. It has published several reports on human rights violations in the Commonwealth nations.
Registration of anti-sex trafficking NGO also scrapped
The Union home ministry has also cancelled the FCRA licence of the NGO Apne Aap Women Worldwide, PTI reported on Tuesday. The organisation failed to file annual financial returns under the Act and diverted funds for purposes other than the ones for which they were sought, the ministry alleged.
The Apne Aap Women Worldwide is based in New York and Kolkata, and works towards ending sex trafficking, The organisation was set up in 2002.
In January, the home ministry had refused to renew registration of over 5,900 NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. The registrations ceased as either the NGOs did not apply for renewal, or the home ministry refused to sanction their applications.
Oxfam India Trust, Indian Youth Centres Trust, Jamia Millia Islamia and Tuberculosis Association of India were among the NGOs whose registrations had become void in January.