No SC Relief for NGOs Who Lost FCRA Licences

The Supreme Courts has refused to provide relief to NGOs who lost their registration to operate under the Foreign Contribution Registration Act. Recent changes in law has stipulated that NGOs can receive foreign contributions only through new FCRA accounts in the State Bank of India. Although the amended Act has been challenged in SC, adjudication would take time given pendency of cases and pandemic-induced virtual hearings which have cut into efficacy of the system. A bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar, however, asked NGOs to make a representation to the Centre for urgent relief, rejecting a plea by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde that the court allow NGOs whose registrations were valid till last September to continue to operate till a verdict in the case is reached.

The court said that no interim relief would be given, and all parties would do well to await a definite adjudication on the legality of the FCRA amendments.

Over 6,000 NGOs have been affected by changes introduced in the latest amendments in the Act.

Many NGOs had appealed to the Centre against their de-registration.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that over 11,000 NGOs who sought extension of time for registration have been granted relief, Mehta said.

On Hedge’s Plea that NGOs were doing stellar work during Covid-19 and there was no need to shut them down, the SG said the “government was conscious” of the situation. Mehta, however, said that those NGOs who had not sought relief would not get relief.

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