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Sanjay Parikh in massive win for Greenpeace, as Delhi HC thaws funds frozen by home ministry

The Delhi high court today asked the central government to unblock around Rs. 1.87 crore of the environmental NGO Greenpeace India that had been frozen.

Greenpeace was represented by advocates Sanjay Parikh, Mamta Saxena and Prachi Arya.

The funds were blocked by the Reserve Bank of India following a June 2014 home ministry directive that the NGO challenged in court.

Noting that the home ministry’s action was arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional, Justice Rajiv Shakdher observed the government had replied that the NGO could access all foreign funds except that of Greenpeace International, which has been put on a watch-list.

The court also observed that no material was put on record against Greenpeace International.

It said that NGOs are entitled to their viewpoint and merely because this might not be in consonance with that of the government’s, it didn’t that the NGO is acting against national interests.

In June last year, an Intelligence Bureau report submitted to the home ministry alleged Greenpeace India was misusing foreign funds to hamper India’s economic growth. The IB report was also cited by Essar in a defamation action against the NGO, as reported by Legally India at the time.

The ministry then directed the RBI to put on hold all foreign contributions originating from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation meant for Greenpeace India.

The RBI was also asked to take the home ministry’s FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) department before clearing any foreign aid to Greenpeace India.

The directive put on hold direct funding of the NGO from abroad since each transaction has to be cleared on a case-to-case basis by the RBI

Greenpeace India Society (GPIS) alleged in the court that the action taken by the central government was without any reason.

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