Skip to main content

Greenpeace's sixth legal victory: Madras High Court "unconditionally" stays Tamil Nadu order canceling registration

Greenpeace andriod app to "battle" air pollution
By Our Representative
In a major relief to Greenpeace India, the Madras High Court has stayed a government order canceling the top environmental NGO’s registration. Staying the order, the High Court observed that the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies (RoS) did not follow principles of natural justice.
The NGO was represented in the High Court by senior advocate PS Raman, supported by Vineet Subramani. Raman, represented Greenpeace India Society pro bono (without fee), said that he was “happy” that the court had granted an “unconditional stay of the cancellation of registration.”
Welcoming the stay, Greenpeace said, “This is the sixth time in the last year and a half that Greenpeace and its activists have succeeded against multiple attempts to restrict its operations and funding, as well as to shut it down. The courts have consistently found to be in favour of Greenpeace India.”
“We were confident the courts would agree that Greenpeace is on sound legal footing and has done nothing wrong, notwithstanding the government’s ridiculous allegations of fraud in this instance. Our accounts are an open book and on our website for all to inspect,” said Priya Pillai of Greenpeace India.
“The MHA’s clumsy tactics, to suppress free speech and dissenting voices, are turning into a major national and international embarrassment for this government,” she added.
Greenpeace India Society early this month received a notice from the Tamil Nadu RoS, summarily announcing cancellation of its registration as a society. The cancellation of registration came at a time when several international leaders, including the United Nations Secretary-General, had insisted on upholding the importance of civil society in healthy democracies.
The Tamil Nadu move followed an order, issued on September 2, by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which meant that the NGO would not be able to receive any kind of foreign donations.
The MHA decision came in the wake of “prejudicially affecting the public interest and economic interest of the state which violated the conditions of grant of registration”, said sources.
Vinuta Gopal, interim co-Executive Director of Greenpeace India, described the state has part of the nationwide “crackdown on civil liberties”, adding, the cancellation of the organisation’s FCRA registration was the “government’s latest move in a relentless onslaught against the community’s right to dissent.”
On April 10, the government had suspended Greenpeace India’s licence to receive foreign donations, citing reasons such as “talks” with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), attempts to “delay and place illegal obstructions to India’s energy plans”, “campaigning, protesting and lobbying against government of India’s policies”, an anti-nuclear “full page colour advertisement in The Hindu with a sarcasm-laced header”.
Amidst the crackdown, the NGO worked towards “clean air, clean water and clean energy”, Greenpeace India statement said, adding, one of the important steps was to launch “a free android-based mobile application that alerts citizens to take precaution against dangerous levels of air pollution across the country.”
The NGO, during the period, interestingly, supported the government’s move to reduce greenhouse gas emission by about 35 per cent till 2030. More recently, it supported the campaign for protecting traditional forms of mustard against an imminent threat from genetically modified mustard.
Pillai said, “As a people powered organisation, instead of fighting and winning legal battles, we would much rather continue to contribute to solve India’s serious development challenges - air pollution, disappearing forests, the need for safe food and clean electricity for all.”

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

'Enough evidence' in Indian tradition to support legal basis for same-sex marriage

By Iyce Malhotra, Joseph Mathai, Sandeep Chachra*  The ongoing hearing in the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage provides space for much-needed conversations on issues that have hitherto remained “invisible” or engaged with patriarchal locker room humour. We must recognize that people with diverse sexualities and complex gender identities have faced discrimination, stigma and decades of oppression. Their issues have mainly remained buried in dominant social discourse, and many view them with deep insecurities.

Delhi HC rules in favour of retired Air Force officer 'overcharged' for Covid treatment

By Rosamma Thomas*  In a decision of May 22, 2023, the Delhi High Court ruled in favour of petitioner Group Captain Suresh Khanna who was under treatment at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, between April 28 and May 5, 2021, for a period of eight days, for Covid-19 pneumonia. The petitioner had to pay Rs 3,55,286 as treatment costs, but the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) only reimbursed him for Rs 1,83,748, on the basis of government-approved rates. 

Urgency for next pandemic? But Mr Health Secretary, you're barking up wrong tree

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  The Union Health Secretary, Mr Rajesh Bhushan addressing the Health Working Group of G20 India, at Hyderabad on 05 June 2023, cautioned that the next pandemic would not wait for us to make global treaties and called on countries to work together.

Religious divide 'kept alive' with low intensity communalism in Gujarat's cultural capital

By Rajiv Shah  A fact-finding report, prepared by the Mumbai-based non-profit, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), has cited the Vadodara Ram Navami violence of March 30 as yet another example of how, after the BJP consolidating its hold on political power in Gujarat post-2002 riots and at the Centre in 2014, the nature of communal riots has changed, underlining, as opposed to high-intensity violence earlier, now riots have become “more sub-radar and at a smaller scale, more localized”.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Why continued obsession with adding more 'water guzzling' coal, nuclear power plants?

By Shankar Sharma*  The true concerns over water inefficiency in coal power plants have been known and have been highlighted many times in the past. A highly relevant study report by Prayas Energy Group had highlighted this fast looming threat to our society many years ago. But our authorities have been acting as though there can be no issue with water supply, and that additional coal power plants can be added indefinitely; even without any true relevance to climate change.

Generative AI as 'potent weapon and shield' in battle of political misinformation

By Haziq Jeelani*  In the pulsating heart of the digital era, the political arena is ceaselessly molded by the swift and relentless flow of information. The line between fact and fiction often blurs, creating a nebulous landscape where truth and deceit intertwine. 

Kailash Satyarthi NGO rescues 12 child workers from high profile Gujarat private varsity

By Our Representative  In a rather grim reflection of the state of child labour in Gujarat, 12 child labourers, most of whom belong to Rajasthan tribal communities, have been rescued from the campus of a high profile private university in Rajkot by a team of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU), Labour Department, Centre for Labour Research and Action, and the Police.