Madras HC grants interim relief to Greenpeace

Interim stay over FCRA cancellation, Greenpeace gets relief for eight weeks by the court

GN BUREAU | September 16, 2015



The Madras high court on Wednesday granted interim stay of eight weeks over cancellation of NGO Greenpeace’s foreign contribution regulation act (FCRA) registration. The court was hearing the case wherein Greenpeace had challenged the decision of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) to cancel the organisation’s FCRA registration.

“We are confident that we have a strong legal case to demonstrate that the MHA is acting without any justification. This is the fourth time we have had to seek legal recourse and legally challenge decisions of MHA. The Delhi high court previously upheld our right to raise questions about government policies.

Today, the Madras high court’s decision to admit our case further reinforces our faith in the judiciary’s commitment to uphold the vibrant democratic tradition of India,” said Vinuta Gopal, co-executive director, Greenpeace India.

READ: Greenpeace India claims it may completely shutdown in a month

She added, “This is a matter of principle for us; almost 70 percent of our income comes from our Indian supporters. We don’t believe the MHA – and by extension the government – should have unlimited powers to suppress dissent based on its own perception of what constitutes national interest.”

The tussle between the government and Greenpeace came to the front after one of the organisation’s campaigners was barred by the government from travelling to the UK in January this year. The campaigner, Priya Pillai, was to give a presentation to the ‘All Party Parliamentarian Group’ (APPG) on Indo-Britain relations and tribal affairs about alleged human rights violations of the tribal community by Essar Power (a company registered in the UK) in the Mahan coal block area of Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh. The government accused the NGO of threatening national economic security and presenting India in a bad light in front of the world due to vested interests. Later in March, the Delhi high court set aside the government’s lookout circular that prevented Pillai from visiting the UK. Soon, however, the government froze all domestic and foreign accounts of the NGO. In May, Greenpeace started opening new accounts, asking for donations, in order to sustain itself.

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