The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre not to take any coercive step against a charitable trust, formed for the upliftment of destitute and leprosy patients, for not filing its annual return as mandated under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act due to purported technical glitches on the portal of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Justice Rekha Palli issued a notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and asked it to respond to the petition, and listed the matter for further hearing on December 16.
Till the next date, no coercive action be taken by the respondent (MHA) against the petitioner (trust) for non-filing of its return for the year 2019-20, the court said.
The petitioner, Destitutes and Leprosy Patients Rehabilitation Trust, sought direction to the authorities to allow it to upload its form FC-4 on the ministry’s portal, as mandated under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, to enable it to file its annual return for the financial year 2019-2020 beyond the prescribed date of June 30, 2021.
The trust, represented through advocates Jose Abraham and M P Srivignesh, submitted that the return could not be filed due to a technical glitch in the authorities’ portal and contended that the petitioner ought not to be penalised for it.
The counsel further said that the same technical problem was faced by a number of other similarly placed parties and the petitioner apprehends that on account of non-filing of return, the ministry is likely to take coercive action against it.
The plea sought to restrain the authorities from taking any coercive action against the petitioner and that the trust is permitted to file its annual returns.