The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial court proceedings in a defamation case filed by the Essar Group against Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai and two others at Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh.
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial court proceedings in a defamation case filed by the Essar Group against Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai and two others at Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh.A bench of Justices Jagdish Singh Khehar and Adarsh Kumar Goel also issued notices to the firm and the Centre on Pillai’s plea in which she has also challenged the validity section 499 (defamation) of the IPC.The activist has contested the defamation complaint on the ground that Essar has filed it to curb the freedom of expression and prevent her from raising voice against the alleged wrongs of the company.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In her petition, Pillai said that the corporates are using such litigations for preventing public interventions and these are aimed at intimidating activists and keeping them engaged in multiple litigations.Earlier, another bench, hearing a batch of petitions challenging penal laws on defamation including the plea filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, had allowed Pillai’s counsel to argue her plea.The criminal defamation suit was filed in a lower court of Madhya Pradesh against Pillai and two other persons related to Greenpeace — Kumi Naidoo and Samit Aich.
STRAP: The order by joint secy of MHA lists out nine charges for violating various rules of the FCRA
Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai was offloaded at Delhi from a flight to London in January
Getting back at the environmental NGO Greenpeace again, the union home ministry has suspended its registration under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) for six months. The move effective for all its branches and units, bars Greenpeace from acquiring any foreign funds for its campaigns.The order brought out by GK Dwivedi, joint secretary (foreigner division) of union home ministry on April 9, listed out as many as nine charges, including some insignificant ones, against Greenpeace for violating various rules of the FCRA and also issued a show cause to the NGO to get back within 30 days answering why its FCRA registration should not be canceled.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Greenpeace has got reprieves from the Delhi high court on at least three different occasions since last year, including unblocking of funds, removing freeze on receiving foreign contribution and allowing its ace activist Priya Pillai to travel abroad.Significantly, on January 20, the Delhi high court had directed the home ministry to transfer the blocked foreign funds from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation to Greenpeace India’s accounts declaring home ministry’s actions to be arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional.Government had first hauled up Greenpeace in June through leaking out an IB report against it for putting the nation’s economic interest in jeopardy.In the latest order the union home ministry said the most glaring example of FCRA violation is opening balance for 2008-09, which was reported as Nil in the auditor’s certificate but was actually more than Rs6.6 crore that was subsequently admitted by the Greenpeace India Society (GIS) and claimed to be a typographical error.Raking up the old controversy, the order said that the government having information and evidence in its possession is satisfied that the acceptance of foreign contribution by the GIS has prejudicially affected the public interest, the economic interest of the State in violation of section 12 of the FCRA which violates grant of certificate of registration. The order said that during an on-site inspection of accounts and records on September 24 and 27, 2014, the association has first transferred foreign contribution received in FCRA designated bank account to FCRA utilization account and from there to five other bank accounts without informing authority concerned thus violating rule 9 (1) (e) of foreign contribution contribution rules (FCRR), 2011.Besides citing other violations, the order said the Greenpeace also violated section 7 of the FCRA that prohibits transfer of foreign contribution from an FCRA registered NGO to non-FCRA registered NGO without prior approval as GIS paid Rs8 lakh to the employees of Greenpeace Environment Trust (GET) which is a separate trust with a different PAN number.Reacting sharply and signaling it would not budge is ready for a legal battle, Greenpeace said the move is a smear, pure and simple.”All of this was put before the Delhi high court when we brought a case against the Centre, and the court decided in our favour. This feels like a revealing moment, one that says much more about the MHA than it does about Greenpeace. We believe in the Indian legal system. A campaign is being waged against dissent, but we will not be cowed,” said Samit Aich, Greenpeace India executive director.Aich added that “We will continue to work towards clean air, clean water and inclusive development in India because we believe that every citizen is entitled to it. Our work is supported by people of this country and 70 percent of Greenpeace India’s funds come from Indian donors.” Other violationsGreenpeace also incurred more than 50% of the foreign contribution on administration expenditure during FY 2011-12 and 2012-13 without obtaining the prior approval of the central government in violation of section 8 (1) (b) of FCRA which is also substantiated by the notice issued by the Income Tax department and subsequent payment of Rs62.12 lakh by the GIS to the IT department.