FCRA NGO files PIL in the Court seeking an SIT investigation into alleged malpractices within CBI

There should be a debate regarding whether FCRA NGOs should be allowed to file PILs pertaining to matters of national security such as the Rohingyas and premier investigative agencies of our country such as the CBI.

A PIL has been filed by the NGO Common Cause against the Central Vigilance Commission and Central Government’s decision to divest Alok Verma of powers as CBI Director. The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it would consider granting an urgent hearing on the petition.

The PIL filed through Advocate Prashant Bhushan, a member of the governing council of the NGO, alleges that “the chain of events shows that Mr Alok Verma is being victimised for taking action against Mr Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat cadre officer and also for entertaining complaint against the top functionaries of the present government”.

The PIL further requested for a Court-monitored SIT investigation into alleged malpractices within the CBI. “An independent investigation into the aforementioned allegations of corruption against the CBI officials and other related issues, which have unfolded in the last few days, cannot be left to the officer who has been handed over the charge of Director, CBI as he himself has been facing corruption charges and Mr Verma had apparently ordered a discreet enquiry against him neither the CVC can be trusted for the said responsibility as his conduct has been clearly partisan in the present case,” the petition states.

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The troubling aspect of the matter is the NGO Common Cause is registered under the FCRA Act and can receive foreign contributions from abroad. As per Darpan, it has neither specified the amount it has received nor the source of its funds. As we have reported earlier, the NGO had also filed a PIL against the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Special Director of the CBI. Considering the fact that Common Cause is eligible to receive funds from abroad, it is of great concern that it is seeking to interfere with grave internal matters of the country through the Judiciary.

With NGOs that are open to receiving funds from foreign entities, entities whose interests might not necessarily be aligned with those of India, it is indeed a matter of grave concern with NGOs that receive funds from abroad use the judiciary to interfere in matters of national importance. Therefore, it should open up a debate regarding whether FCRA NGOs should be allowed to file PILs pertaining to matters of national security such as the Rohingyas and premier investigative agencies of our country such as the CBI.

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