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New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Union Home Ministry on a complaint alleging draconian approach of the Government of India for renewal of the Foreign Contribution Regulation ACT (FCRA) license to the NGOs of Human Rights Defenders.

The 7th Human Rights Defender Forum Colombo, Sri Lanka, has informed the Commission to intervene in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license non-renewal of Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns (CPSC). Such systematic attack on rights of the Human Rights Defenders and on fundamental rights of the association and assembly as enshrined in the Article 19 of the Constitution of India has also been brought to notice of the Commission, said an NHRC release.

Prima-facie it appears FCRA license non-renewal is neither legal nor objective and thereby impinging on the rights of the human rights defenders both in access to funding including foreign funding.

The Commission takes suo-motu cognizance of the present case and directs Secretary (Home) to inform within a period of six weeks on the following : Number of NGOs of Human Rights Defenders who have not been allowed renewal of the license and the amount received by them from foreign funding during last three years and the reason for non-renewal, point out in case of Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns (more publically known through its programme namely People’s Watch) how the litmus test laid down by the UN Special Rapporteur is applied in the adjudication by the Central Government and how the generic aspect of access to foreign funding and continuance of the same is not the right to form association and is not against international law, standards and principles, the NHRC release said.

After perusing submission of Secretary (Home), Government of India, the Commission may decide to hear the oral presentation, if necessary, about the present allegation of the draconian approach and the correctives the Government of India is contemplating.


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