The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition by civil society organisation Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) challenging the suspension of its registration by the central government. “I have dismissed the petition,” said Justice V Kameswar Rao who had reserved verdict on the plea last month.
The organisation had moved the high court last year against the order passed by the Home Ministry suspending CHRI's certificate of registration for 180 days. In its petition, CHRI sought quashing of the suspension order dated June 7, 2021, for “being patently without jurisdiction, ultra vires section 13, FCRA, unreasonable, manifestly arbitrary, excessive and disproportionate, on the face of it being based on wholly incorrect facts and for violating basic principles of natural justice”.
Appearing for the organisation, senior advocate Arvind Datar, had said that the suspension of CHRI's registration was disproportionate to the alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010 (FCRA Act). The allegations against CHRI included mixing foreign contributions with the domestic donation and non-intimation of specific accounts.
“A 180-day suspension is a drastic measure that threatens the very existence of the Petitioner (CHRI), apart from causing great harm to its reputation built painstakingly over 3 decades. The consequent freezing of Petitioner's receipt and utilisation of bank accounts have severely restricted its planned programme activities,” the petition stated.
The petition submitted that CHRI's current Executive Committee has a “galaxy of legal luminaries, former top police officials, environmental leaders” and Wajahat Habibullah, the first Chief Information Commissioner of India, is its Chairperson. The other committee members include former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur and former Delhi high court Chief Justice AP Shah. In 2016, CHRI's registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010 was renewed up to October 31, 2021.
With PTI Inputs