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Greenpeace has withdrawn its plea a day after Madras HC stayed the order, for eight weeks, cancelling its FCRA registration. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Greenpeace has withdrawn its plea a day after Madras HC stayed the order, for eight weeks, cancelling its FCRA registration. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Delhi HC allows Greenpeace India to withdraw plea against suspension of FCRA registration

The organization clarified that it did not wish to pursue the matter further as it had become infructuous

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Thursday allowed Greenpeace India Society to withdraw its plea challenging the suspension of its registration under the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA) and subsequent freezing of its bank accounts.

This came a day after the Madras high court granted an eight-week stay for the activist organization on the cancellation of its FCRA registration in India.

The organization clarified that it did not wish to pursue the matter further as it had become infructuous since the cancellation order under FCRA replaces the earlier suspension order passed by the Union home ministry.

Observing that the organization cannot be forced to pursue the matter if they did not wish to, justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw allowed the petition to be “dismissed as withdrawn".

“We are contemplating moving the Supreme Court to get the plea against cancellation presently before Madras HC to be transferred to Delhi HC," said additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain. But Greenpeace said it prefers the matter to be heard by the Madras high court, since its head office was in Chennai.

On 9 April, the home ministry froze the bank accounts of Greenpeace, alleging that it had violated the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act 1976 by merging foreign donations with domestic contributions.

It also issued a show-cause notice asking the not-for-profit organization to explain why its registration under the FCRA should not be cancelled.

Gopal Subramanium, counsel for Greenpeace India, had claimed that the home ministry had directed the designated bank to prohibit release of funds to the organization without giving prior notice to them.

On 27 May, while providing partial relief to Greenpeace India, the court allowed it to access and operate two domestic bank accounts for its day-to-day functioning.

This allowed Greenpeace to restart its campaigns by providing it access to the regular donations from its Indian donors, as well as savings that the organisation held in fixed deposits.

Greenpeace India is the local branch of global environmental group Greenpeace, a non-profit NGO that was accused of being a threat to the country’s economic development by involvement in anti-development activities on the basis of a leaked Intelligence Bureau report in June 2014.

The majority of the funds for Greenpeace India are generated from domestic donations and individual Indian citizens, while the remainder come from foreign contributions, mainly from Greenpeace International (GPI) based in Amsterdam.

Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation are the two principal international contributors to Greenpeace India Society.

The court also stated that the withdrawal of the petition would not have any effect on the ongoing petition challenging cancellation order in Madras high court.

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