SC calls for statutory regime to regulate state-funded NGOs

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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the government to consider putting in place a statutory regime to regulate registration, funding, compliance and audit of the NGOs getting state support.

A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the government to consider giving statutory status to the entire process.

This legal regime might also envisage the civil and criminal action against the defaulting NGOs as deemed fit by the legislature.

Observing that the existing guidelines were not systematic, the court in its order asked the government to tell whether it would opt for a statutory regime or continue with the present guidelines.

The apex court gave the Centre eight weeks’ time to inform the court about its stand.

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However, it also made it clear that its order would not come in the way of any ongoing proceedings, including civil and criminal action against the NGOs.

The court order came on a PIL filed by Advocate M.L. Sharma that had originally sought probe into the alleged misuse of funds given to NGO Hind Swaraj run by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare. But the court later expanded its scope to look into the funding of the NGOs by the state and their accountability mechanism.

Earlier in the course of hearing on Wednesday, the court was told that the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) had recommended filing of 159 FIRs against various NGOs for alleged misuse of funds given by it (CAPART).

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CAPART that works under the Ministry of Rural Development said that it had blacklisted 718 NGOs for not adhering to the norms and not submitting the details of their accounts. However, it took 15 NGOs off the blacklist after they fell in line and submitted the details of their accounts.



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