The Delhi High Court has allowed Greenpeace to use two of its accounts for the purpose of receiving and utilising fresh domestic donations to carry out its daily functions. The HC has also clearly informed the government that it cannot choke them off their funds.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher has also allowed the NGO to liquidate its fixed deposits, stating that these as well as fresh donations can be used for its aims and objectives in accordance with the law.
The court said the source of the fixed deposits could be determined by the government in the course of its probe and directed it to decide within eight weeks the NGO’s application under Rule 14 of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules (FCRR) which says that 25% of the unutilised amount in the FCRA account can be used with government approval.
The government had cancelled Greenpeace’s registration under Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) on grounds of allegedly violating the norms by opening five accounts to use foreign donations without informing concerned authorities.
Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had informed the court that the NGO had violated FCRA by merging its foreign donations with the domestic contributions.
The banks with whom Greenpeace had domestic accounts were pulled up by the court for denying access to the funds in the account despite an earlier high court order allowing them to use them.
The court asked the banks to explain why its order of January this year was violated. “Do you go by orders of the court or that of the government,” it asked and added “you have to follow court’s judgement.”
Yesterday, the MHA had defended the cancellation of FCRA registration of Greenpeace and said the NGO has already applied for seeking benefits under Rule 14 which has not been disclosed to the court. It had also claimed that the NGO was not using the donations for the purpose they were received.
Greenpeace had earlier told the court that due to freezing of its domestic accounts, it had lost donations amounting to Rs 1.25 crore which were actually contributed by Indian nationals.