Very recently, the Home Ministry suspended for six months the FCRA Registration of ‘Lawyers Collective’ (LC), an association in which senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indira Jaising is secretary and special prosecutor in the 2G spectrum case Anand Grover is president, for alleged violations of foreign funding norms.
While barring the association from receiving foreign funds, the MHA gave it 30 days to show-cause why its FCRA registration should not be cancelled. The Home Ministry had alleged that there were discrepancies in the foreign contributions cited by the association in its returns filed with the MHA, and that Jaising had violated FCRA norms by receiving foreign funds when she was a government servant.
It also said that the association had organised rallies or dharnas in 2009, as well as in 2011 and 2014, and that “organising such rallies/dharnas with political hue and colour” using foreign funds was not allowed under FCRA, 1976 that was in force in 2009.
Jaising, who served as ASG during the UPA regime, has represented activist Teesta Setalvad in an FCRA violation case against the latter’s Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace. She also represented former Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in his applications to have a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe into two FIRs filed against him by the Gujarat police. Grover was leading the legal battle for the Supreme Court to hear the plea of death row convict Yakub Memon hours before he was to be hanged in July.
According to the order issued by the Foreigners Division of the Home Ministry: “Based on the information received from various sources and the scrutiny of records of the association available with us, prima facie violations of various provisions of FCRA 2010 were noticed. Whereas, the reply/comments of the association received on 30.3.2016 along with the records made available by them as also that available with us were examined in detail and it was found that the same was not satisfactory; that the same did not provide adequate explanation vis-a-vis the violations found and pointed out, and therefore, it has been decided to reject the same and proceed in accordance with law.”
The order added: “Jaising, while functioning as ASG from July 2009 to May 5, 2014, received remuneration of Rs 96.60 lakh, which is admitted by the association in its reply dated March 30, 2016 by stating that the remuneration of Rs 81.41 lakh was paid by the association, pursuant to the permission of the Central government for 59 months (July 2009-May 2014)”