On Foreign Funding Clearance For 6,000 NGOs, Setback In Supreme Court

The Supreme Court refused to grant interim relief on a plea challenging the government’s refusal to renew licenses needed to receive funding from abroad to 6,000 Non-Governmental Organisations, or NGOs. The court was hearing a plea filed by the US-based NGO Global Peace Initiative that said the cancellation of licenses can have a debilitating effect on COVID-19 relief efforts as the country is battling its third wave of infections and the work done by many of these NGOs has helped millions of Indians so far. It will lead to denial of aid to citizens in need, the plea said.

A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar took note of the Centre’s submission that 11,594 NGOs that applied for renewal within the deadline have already been given an extension. The court said that NGOs can make representation to the authorities, and they can take a call. 

Appearing for the government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta questioned the motive behind the plea and mentioned that thousands of NGOs that applied for renewal had already received extensions. He also pointed out that the petitioner is US-based. 

The date for the next hearing, which is to be held later, has not been fixed yet. The court said that it will take place after the judgement is announced in another Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) amendments case.

“The role of NGOs in helping combat the pandemic has been acknowledged by the Central Government, the Niti Aayog, and the Prime Minister’s office itself,” the plea said.

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