The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to set up a regulatory mechanism to monitor funds and how they were utilised by non-governmental organisations, PTI reported. The apex court also asked the government to investigate and punish those NGOs and other voluntary organisations that have not submitted proper utilisation certificates for the public funds that they have taken.

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that out of nearly 33 lakh NGOs in the country, only three lakh had filed audited accounts with authorities, The New Indian Express reported. The Supreme Court said that funds given by the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology is public money and must be accounted for. Capart is an autonomous body under the Rural Development ministry.

The bench also asked Capart officials to inform it whether the CAG audit of NGOs after 2009 was carried out or not. The officials were directed to submit a report by March 31 after complete auditing of NGOs and voluntary organisations. The bench also sought to know whether the General Financial Rules 2005 made by the Finance Ministry were followed or not. The bench was hearing a petition filed by advocate ML Sharma, which sought monitoring of funds given to NGOs.