Continuing its crackdown against foreign-funded NGOs, the home ministry has suspended the FCRA registration of Lawyers Collective, an advocacy NGO founded by activist lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover.
The NGO called the move “an act of vindictiveness” on the government’s part to victimise the organisation and its office bearers, Jaising and Grover. In a statement, it alleged the crackdown had a lot to do with the list of clients that the two eminent lawyers have had. The list includes former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and Greenpeace India’s Priya Pillai who had taken on the current dispensation.
The NDA government started withdrawing registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act – which is necessary to receive foreign funds – in 2015. It cancelled FCRA registration of 10,000 NGOs and other organisations the same year.
The home ministry order said the NGO’s registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act has been suspended for six months for violation of the 2010 law on various counts. The NGO also faces cancellation of its FCRA registration.
It also indicted Indira Jaising for receiving remuneration to the tune of Rs 96 lakh from the NGO’s foreign funds while she was the additional solicitor general from 2009 to 2014.
“Ms Indira Jaising, despite holding such position not only accepted `96 lakh from the corpus of foreign contribution but also travelled abroad... without any intimation to or approval under the provisions of FCRA 2010,” the order issued on Tuesday said.
The home ministry went on to argue that the NGO had been using foreign funds for organising protests and rallies ‘with political hue and colour’. The government also raised a flag over the utilisation of foreign funds for lobbying with members of Parliament, insisting that this amounted to influencing the political process which was a violation of the law.