The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative on Thursday said that it had responded to every alleged irregularity pointed out by the Centre before suspending the organisation’s foreign fund licence.
Most of the allegations made by the government were vague, the organisation said. It added that it has been cooperating with the government in all the proceedings since June 2021.
“More than 7,500 pages of records containing details of our transactions were photocopied and submitted on MHA’s demand, within the deadlines stipulated,” the organisation said in a statement. “Nothing in the cancellation order indicates why the MHA finds our explanation unsatisfactory, unreasonable or untenable.”
The organisation’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration was cancelled by the government on Wednesday on grounds of multiple alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, or FCRA. The registration is mandatory for receiving foreign funds.
Initially, the licence was suspended for 180 days by the Centre on June 7. It was then extended for 180 days in December.
The non-governmental organisation had then approached the Delhi High Court to challenge the suspension. On February 14, the court refused to interfere with the Centre’s order.
In Thursday’s statement, the human rights organisation said that the government had cited three reasons before cancelling the foreign fund licence.
The government had alleged that the organisation had deposited Rs 31.90 lakh in its bank account designated to receive foreign contribution even though it is not covered under the definition of ‘foreign contribution’.
“On two occasions, CHRI explained to the MHA, with supporting evidence, that these funds were received from foreign donor agencies situated in the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka for carrying out specific project activities in India in 2014 and 2018,” the organisation said.
The organisation had failed to provide full information regarding the details of activities or projects for which it had received or utilised the foreign contributions, the government had said.
To this, the organisation said that it had given an explanation to the ministry on three occasions. It said it had digitally submitted all the details of foreign contributions received and utilised for every project between 2018 and 2019.
The government had also alleged that the association had utilised foreign contributions on activities beyond the scope of the FCRA for which the registration was granted.
“CHRI is unable to offer any explanation against such a vague and bald allegation which finds mention only in the cancellation order but not during any of the prior proceedings,” the organisation said.
The organisation added that it would seek all remedies in law to reverse the home ministry’s cancellation order.