The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) seeking its response in a petition filed by Greenpeace India alleging that the government had blocked its foreign funds.
The court also directed that Greenpeace India’s blocked funds to be moved from RBI’s account to the NGO’s account with IDBI Bank, Greenpeace said. The money has to be put in a fixed deposit until October 10. The government 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.
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.
Greenpeace called the government’s blockage “completely arbitrary”.
“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,” said Samit Aich, Executive Director, Greenpeace India, in a statement.
“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.
According to media reports, the new BJP-led government feels that international environment conservation organisations like Greenpeace may be working with an agenda to prevent India from developing. Greepeace is known for its direct action style of environmental activism, and has attacked corporates like Essar, Bharti Airtel etc for causing pollution.