In a huge set back to Indira Jaising, Supreme Court has sought a response from the government on a PIL for an SIT probe into “deliberate inaction” and non-registration of FIR against senior advocates Indira Jaising, Anand Grover and the NGO Lawyers Collective.
Crying foul over the Supreme Court notice to them and their NGO, Lawyers Collective, Indira Jaising and Anand Grover said they are “deeply disturbed by the turn of events”.
“It is obvious to us that this is victimisation on account of Ms Jaising taking up the issue of the procedure adopted in relation to the allegations of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India by a former employee of the Supreme Court which Ms Jaising has done so in her capacity as a concerned citizen, a senior member of the bar and a women’s rights advocate, without commenting on the merits of the allegations,” Jaising, Grover and Lawyers Collective said in a press statement.
The Home Ministry through an order in 2016 had indicated towards fault with Indira Jaising for accepting remuneration of Rs 96.60 lakh from the NGO for her services at a time when she was functioning as Additional Solicitor General for the government between July 2009 and May 2014.
“It is really surprising, that how a senior law officer, such as an ASG can simultaneously be and for such a long period be on the rolls of a private entity, being paid (out of foreign contribution) for undisclosed purposes by the entity,” the order said.
The order further read, “Ms, Indira Jaising , despite holding such a position (Additional Solicitor-general) not only accepted Rs. 96.60 lacs from the Corpus of foreign contribution but also travelled abroad from the same fund for and on behalf of the Association without any intimation to or approval under the provisions of FCRA, 2010.”
The order also said that the foreign funds were used to lobby with MPs and thereby influencing political processes and parliamentary institutions. Another violation cited by the MHA is the payment to foreigners for professional services and travelling expenses. The foreigners visited India on tourist visas to assist Grover. The order said Rs 22.53 lakh was spent for Grover’s air travel.
“He (Anand Grover) used the foreign contribution for personal benefits and spent it outside India, thereby violating Section 8 of the FCRA, 2010.”
Replying to the MHA notice dated 27th November 2016, Lawyers Collective in their response had alleged it to be a “clear attack on the right to free speech and association guaranteed by the Constitution of India.”
Various instances of several organizations working against national interests in the garb of NGO’s have surfaced. These “NGOs” involved in several activities such as protesting against development activities, legal activism against national interests, etc., the Indian government in action against such organizations and others, which were violating FCRA regulations had cancelled thousands of licenses. “NGOs that are not serving larger national interest or indulging in subversive activities should not be allowed foreign funding,” said a senior home ministry officer. The officer said the 11,319 NGO’s which did not bother to apply for renewal “were history as far as FCRA was concerned,” said an official after MHA had taken action against a number of NGO’s in 2016, which also included Lawyers Collective.