Government on Tuesday defended its decision to cancel the foreign contribution registration of Greenpeace India before Delhi High Court, saying the NGO had violated the norms by opening five accounts to utilise foreign donations without informing the relevant authorities.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in an affidavit before Justice Rajiv Shakdher, charged Greenpeace with violating Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by merging its foreign donations with domestic contributions.
The ministry also told the court that on the question of releasing funds for the NGO’s day-to-day expenses, "statutory remedy is available under Rule 14 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules (FCRR)" which provides that 25 per cent of the unutilised amount in the FCRA account can be used with government approval.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for MHA, said Greenpeace has already applied for seeking benefits under Rule 14 which has not been disclosed to the court.
He also claimed that the NGO was not using the donations for the purpose they were received.
The government affidavit said, "it was found that petitioner (Greenpeace) receives huge amount of foreign contribution running into crores of rupees which is though deposited in FCRA account, is diverted to such other utilisation accounts in which foreign contribution has been merged with domestic receipts contrary to the Act".
Greenpeace, during the hearing, told the court that due to freeze on its domestic accounts, it has lost donations to the extent of Rs 1.25 crore only this month which were made by its Indian contributors.
It said if the court does not intervene, then it would lose the same amount of domestic donations in June as well.