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Delhi HC issues notice to MHA for holding up Greenpeace India’s funds

Directs immediate transfer of the blocked funds to the NGO’s account

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3rd September 2014| New Delhi | The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for blocking Greenpeace India’s foreign funds. The court has directed that Greenpeace India’s blocked funds to be moved from RBI’s account to the NGO’s FCRA account with IDBI Bank. The money has to be put in a fixed deposit until October 10. Greenpeace India had filed a writ petition last week in the high court demanding answers from the Ministry of Home Affairs on the arbitrary prohibition of foreign funds under FCRA.

“The High Court’s direction to the MHA throws light on the complete arbitrary manner in which the government has attempted to muzzle voices of dissent in democracy in the name of financial scrutiny. Greenpeace India follows all laws of the land and is completely transparent in its operations. But in the absence of any communication from the government the NGO is forced to believe that the MHA is attempting to financially choke and discredit Greenpeace India in order to proceed smoothly with its pro-corporate agenda,” expressed Samit Aich, Executive Director, Greenpeace India.

Earlier on 17th July, 2014, Greenpeace India had written to the MHA asking for relevant documents on the basis of which FCRA was stopped, however, the government has not responded yet. In a clandestine manner the government has stopped Greenpeace India’s foreign funds and has refused to divulge any details about the proceedings. Greenpeace India is well within its rights to receive foreign funds. But, the government has arbitrarily stopped the NGO’s foreign funds without any communication. Through their writ petition, Greenpeace India is attempting to get answers from the MHA and hopes that the government would come out clean.

“We have not received any official communication from the Home Ministry. We demand that the government should immediately respond to our queries,” Aich added. For the sake of transparency, Greenpeace India had filed the petition, seeking details from the Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India of what triggered the actions against Greenpeace India.

“On June 23, 2014, we had requested for a financial transfer from Greenpeace International, who transferred the money the very next day. Normally it takes three-four days for the funds to transfer into our accounts. However, on June 30, we were denied the money on the grounds that our bank, IDBI had received instructions from the Reserve Bank of India that they would not be able to transfer the money unless they received a go ahead from the MHA. We got to know about it only in the newspapers,” Aich further added.

The irony of this situation is that Greenpeace India has been kept completely in the dark. It’s a shame that in the world’s largest democracy, people who oppose unfair policies and fight for justice are left with no voice at all.

“Environmental watchdogs have been blamed for slowing down the economy, but now the highest judicial authority of the country the Supreme Court – has deemed all coal blocks allocated since 1993 as illegal. The SC has come down heavily at the government and the companies for the ‘arbitrary’ and ‘mindless’ decisions. It is increasingly becoming clear that the rampant corruption and crony capitalism is stalling the economic progress of the country,” says Aich.

The MHA has to file their response to the HC notice in the next two weeks. The next hearing of the case will be on 10th October.

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