Supreme Court: Three Judge-bench will hear plea challenging decision of MHA refusing renewal of FCRA

  • Gautam Mishra
  • 07:07 PM, 24 Jan 2022

A three judge bench of the Supreme Court will hear the plea which challenged a decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs, refusing the renewal of the FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act) registration of the NGOs including Missionaries of Charity which is a prominent organization founded by Mother Teresa in 1950.

A bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar noted that as the matters pertaining to the challenge of the FCRA 2020 Amendment were heard by a three Judges Bench, this matter should also be listed before a three judges bench.

Earlier, a bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari had agreed to hear the matter and listed the same on January 24, 2022, after it was mentioned by Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde.

The petition has sought quashing of the decisions through which it has refused the renewal of the FCRA registration/ canceled the registration of close to 6000 NGOs.

The plea has stated, "The work done by these NGOs helped millions of Indians. The sudden and arbitrary cancellation of FCRA registration of thousands of these NGOs violates the rights of the organizations, their workers as well as the millions of Indians who they serve. This is especially relevant at a time when the country is facing the third wave of the Covid-19 virus."

It has stated that, "The renewal application for the Missionaries of Charity was rejected on the basis of “adverse inputs”. It is pertinent to note that an FCRA registration certificate is granted under Section 12 of the Act. It can be suspended under Section 13 and cancelled under Section 14. The second proviso to Section 16 states that “the Central Government may refuse to renew the Certificate in case where a person has violated any of the provisions of this Act or rules made thereunder.”

However, it is contended that none of these provisions state that “adverse inputs” may be a ground for refusal/cancellation or non-renewal of registration.

"The license of a renowned charitable organization like the Missionaries of Charities on vague grounds such as “adverse inputs” will have a chilling effect on all other Non-Governmental Organizations," the plea added.

It has further alleged that the FCRA Amendment Act, 2020 brought in a number of onerous conditions upon the registered entities under the FCRA, which has significantly hampered their activities and operations.

Case Title: Global Peace Initiative and Anr Vs. Union of India