India's top court asks government to consider making law to regulate NGOs
The Supreme Court asked the government to apprise it within eight weeks whether it is intended to continue with the present guidelines for NGOs or regulate NGOs through legislation. Photograph: (Reuters)
India's top court, the Supreme Court of India, on Wednesday asked the government to consider making law to regulate NGOs as well as the funds given to them, saying that existing guidelines are not sufficient.
Observing that the present guidelines may not be systematic enough, the top court advised the government to give statutory status to the process of registration, accreditation and funding of NGOs.
The top court, which was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), asked the Centre to apprise it within eight weeks whether it intended to continue with the present guidelines or would likely to regulate the NGO through legislation.
Earlier Wednesday, the Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), told the court it had recommended registration of 159 FIRs against various NGOs for alleged misappropriation or misuse of funds disbursed to them.
CAPART, which disburses funds to voluntary organisations working in rural areas, said it had initially blacklisted 718 NGOs for not following the due process and not submitting their accounting details.
On January 10, the Supreme Court had said public money cannot go unaccounted for and those misappropriating must be prosecuted.
The court reprimanded the government for doling out crores of rupees to lakhs of NGOs, societies and voluntary organisations without being aware of the repercussion of non-auditing.
The bench had also warned that "mere blacklisting" of these organisations would not suffice and civil and criminal action should be initiated by CAPART/other government departments for misappropriating public money received by them from various government departments.
In September 2015, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed the apex court that less than 10 per cent of over 30 lakh NGOs functioning across the country had submitted their returns or balance sheets and other financial details.
(WION with inputs from PTI)