July 30, 2021 1:32:40 am
The Delhi High Court Thursday permitted the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) to utilise 25 per cent of its funds for payment of salaries to the employees and personnel engaged in ongoing projects. The CHRI’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) certificate was suspended for 180 days by the MHA over alleged violations of the law.
Observing that the CHRI has made out a prima facie case to utilise the amount lying in custody, Justice Rekha Palli said the decision whether the organisation can be permitted to use a portion of its foreign contribution cannot depend on field agencies. The report of the agency at best can be used for the purpose of taking further action on the suspension order.
Advocate Anil Soni, representing the Centre, earlier told the court that it had started an inquiry and was auditing CHRI’s accounts. On the question of interim arrangement, Soni said the government has sought a report from the field agencies.
However, the court asked, “How are these people going to be paid and why should the money not come? It should be accounted for. The government should be happy if the money is coming. I am not going to give you further time to seek instructions.”
Soni responded that salaries can be given from Indian accounts. However, the court, while rejecting the submission, noted that “I am inclined to permit them to use the money to pay the salaries”.
The court last week had asked the Central government counsel to get instructions regarding the CHRI’s interim prayer to allow it to utilise 25 percent of the funds available with it and the prayer to allow it to receive foreign funds during the suspension period.
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