Greenpeace violated norms on foreign aid, Centre tells HC

The government also blocked foreign funds for Greenpeace India
Greenpeace violated norms on foreign aid, Centre tells HC
Greenpeace violated norms on foreign aid, Centre tells HC
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The central government on Friday told the Delhi High Court that NGO Greenpeace had violated the norms by opening five accounts to utilize foreign donations without informing the relevant authorities as it sought to explain the reason to cancel its foreign contribution registration.

Justice V.P. Vaish was informed that Greenpeace violated Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by merging its foreign donations with domestic contributions.

In an affidavit, the home ministry said the NGO was continuing to use their FCRA accounts despite suspension of the same on April 9.

The government on Thursday also cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India under the FCRA for its activities which allegedly hampered country's economic growth.

The decision would mean that the NGO will not be able to receive from abroad the funds, which are up to 30 percent of its overall cost of its operations.

Terming the action as the "government's latest move in a relentless onslaught against the community's right to dissent" and "yet another attempt to silence campaigns for a more sustainable future", Greenpeace India said it will not be deterred.

Greenpeace India interim co-executive director Vinuta Gopal said "Cutting access to our foreign funding may be a desperate attempt to get us to cease our work but the MHA probably didn't count on our having an amazing network of volunteers and supporters who have helped us continue our work despite the government crackdown.

The government had in April blocked Greenpeace India's bank accounts, following which the environmental group had to seek interim relief from the Delhi High Court.

In the last one year, the FCRA licence of at least 11,000 NGOs were cancelled by the government for violating various provisions of the law.

In April, the government ordered that funds coming from the US-based Ford Foundation should not be released by any bank to any Indian NGO without mandatory permission from the home ministry.

A crisis response campaigner with Greenpeace International, Aaron Gray-Block, was denied entry into India three months ago as his name figured in a home ministry "black list".

The central government has filed its affidavit on a plea of the NGO challenging suspension of its FCRA registration and freezing of its foreign and domestic contribution accounts. 

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