The Ministry of Home Affairs has suspended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act licence of activist Harsh Mander’s think tank Centre for Equity Studies for 180 days.
The Centre for Equity Studies is as an autonomous institution engaged in advocating issues of social justice.
In an order on June 14, the ministry said that Mander has regularly been writing columns for newspapers such as The Indian Express, The Hindu, The Wire, the Hindustan Times, The Quint and Scroll.
“Harsh Mander, trustee, has accepted foreign contribution amounting to Rs 12,64,671 during the financial year 2011-’12 to 2017-’18 as professional receipts/ payments from the FCRA account of the association [Centre for Equity Studies],” the order added. “This is in violation of Sections 3 and 8 of the Act and conditions of registration under Section 12(4)(a)(vi) of the Act.”
Registration under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, or FCRA, is mandatory to receive foreign funds. The suspension of the licence makes the think tank ineligible to get fresh donations from abroad or use the existing foreign donations without the home ministry’s clearance.
Section 3 of the Act prohibits acceptance of foreign contributions by correspondents, columnists, cartoonists, editors, owners, printers and publishers of a registered newspaper. Section 8 of the Act states that organisations receiving foreign contributions must use them only for the purpose they are intended…