Tightening noose around more than 24 lakh registered NGOs, the Centre Monday told the Supreme Court that it wanted to stop grant of funds to all such groups which have failed to regularly file their income-expenditure statements.
Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia informed a bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu that the government was contemplating to set it as a condition precedent for release of funds that the NGOs adduce balance sheets, which are to be filed before the Registrar of Societies.
“For release of grants, let it be a condition precedent that the government would release money only after they produce such accounts of the preceding three years. Those not complying with this should not receive any grant,” said the ASG.
The bench replied: “We want to know why should NGOs which are not maintaining records of their finances be allowed to continue and receive funds from the government. Should we record your undertaking in our order?” At this, the ASG sought liberty to move an appropriate note or memo before the court. The bench allowed him to do so and said that an appropriate order, based on the Centre’s note, could be passed on the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile, the court also issued notices to Tamil Nadu and Telangana, seeking explanation on why they had not provided details to the CBI about registered NGOs in the states. The court had earlier directed the agency to collect details of all the registered NGOs and apprise it whether they regularly filed income-expenditure statements.
PIL petitioner M L Sharma had sought an imminent inquiry against NGO Hind Swaraj Trust, run by social activist Anna Hazare, but the court had expanded the scope of the petition and ordered institution of an inquiry against all registered NGOs in the country.
According to the inquiry conducted by the CBI so far, only about 10 per cent of the NGOs have filed requisite financial statements. Out of 22.4 lakh NGOs in 20 states, only 2.23 lakh have filed their balance sheets.
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