FCRA violation: CBI moves apex court against relief to NGO

FCRA violation: CBI moves apex court against relief to NGO

The CBI has approached the Supreme Court against the July 25 order of the Bombay High Court restraining it from taking coercive steps against senior advocate Indira Jaising’s NGO Lawyers Collective over Foreign Contrib-ution (Regulation) Act violations.

The HC had granted the relief while hearing a plea by the NGO seeking quashing of an FIR registered by the CBI against it.

Challenging this, the agency said the HC order effectively “is an order granting anticipatory bail to the accused/Respondents as contemplated under Section 438 CrPC; that too without satisfying the mandatory conditions mentioned in S 438”.

The appeal pointed out that the Supreme Court in a 2017 case “had unequivocally held that it is impermissible in law for the Courts to pass interim orders directing the investigating agency to take ‘no coercive steps’ against the accused while exercising 482 CrPC or Article 226 jurisdiction as the same amounts to an order granting anticipatory bail under Section 438 CrPC, passed without satisfaction of the conditions of the said provision, and as such, any order of such nature is completely unsustainable and bad in law”.

The court could only have stayed the investigation after satisfying itself and after coming to a definite finding that the FIR is unsustainable and bad in law, it added.

The CBI said that a writ petition was filed in the SC on May 8 praying for a court-monitored probe against the NGO. The SC issued notice on the petition, following which the Home Ministry referred the matter to the CBI.

Subsequently, the CBI registered an FIR after which the NHRC, hearing a plea by the NGO, sought to know the status of the probe. Searches were then carried out in pursuance of warrants issued by the Special CBI Judge in Mumbai. Following this, the NGO moved the HC seeking quashing of FIR.

The Centre had cancelled the FCRA registration of the NGO in November 2016 citing flouting of the Act and rules under it.