New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear a petition on Monday challenging the Union government's refusal to renew Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) Licenses that 6000 non-profit organisations require to receive funding from overseas, NDTV reported.
The petition, filed by the US-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Global Peace Initiative, said that denying the renewal of licences has adversely affected the Covid-19 relief efforts in India. Many of those NGOs, who were refused licence renewal, had put their efforts into relief works since the breakout of the pandemic and have assisted millions so far. Their work needs to continue as the country is fighting the third wave at the moment. If not, it will hamper relief efforts, and millions will be left without aid, the petition said.
It pleaded for an extension of the FCRA Licenses of these NGOs at least until the pandemic stays a 'national disaster' as per the government.
Further, the plea said that the sudden and arbitrary cancellation of FCRA registration of all these NGO's violates the rights of organisations and their workers. NGOs' role in the resistance against the pandemic was acknowledged by NITI Aayog, the nation's top public policy think tank, as well as the Union government and Prime Minister's Office, it sai.
The Union Home Ministry had announced in January that the FCRA licenses of more than 12,000 NGOs and other organisations have expired. In a WhatsApp group of select journalists, government sources claimed that the said organisations had not applied for licence renewal. However, Mother Teresa's charity, which fell into controversy days before, renewed its licence on January 6, which will be valid until 2026.
Critics had said that by denying licence renewal, the Union government is suppressing organisations not supporting it.
Those organisations without FCRA license include Oxfam India and the Oxfam India Trust, Jamia Milia Islamia, the Indian Medical Association, the Leprosy Mission, the Tuberculosis Association Of India, the Indira Gandhi National Centre For Arts, and the India Islamic Cultural Centre.