The Supreme Court has issued a notice to senior advocates Indira Jaising, Anand Grover and NGO Lawyers Collective on the basis of a PIL filed by a voluntary organization of lawyers, Lawyers Voice, seeking an SIT investigation into the inaction of the Central Government over the violation of FCRA laws by the entities concerned. The notice was issued by a bench headed by CJI Gogoi.
The Central Government had cancelled the FCRA licence of the NGO after the FCRA violations came to light but apparently, no action was sought against the individuals themselves.
The petitioner claimed that “despite recording serious acts of commission and omission by the Union of India in its order dated May 31, 2016, and order dated November 27, 2016, which led to the cancellation of FCRA certificate of Lawyers’ Collective, the officers of the Union of India have deliberately not registered offences against the respondents under the respective criminal Acts for reasons best known to them”.
It was also claimed that Jaising and Grover have received foreign funding to influence democratic process of the country by lobbying with the Members of Parliament in an unauthorized manner and media for the passing of certain legislation and to influence the policy decisions.
The last two decades have witnessed mushrooming of several voluntary organisations which are funded by foreign sources which are trying to thwart the development of the country. Such voluntary organisations thrive on foreign funding and carry out various activities which are not in the interest of the nation, the petitioner alleged further.
Indira Jaising, in typical fashion, has claimed victimization for her involvement in the issue of sexual harassment allegations against CJI Gogoi. In a statement issued by Lawyers Collective, it was claimed that petition ought to have been taken on the 10th of May but was listed on the 8th instead.
The statement further claims that CJI Gogoi ought to have recused himself in the matter. It reads, “Considering that Ms Jaising has been publicly vocal on the issue of due process of law in relation to the conduct of the in-house inquiry, the Chief Justice ought to have recused himself from hearing the matter.” It adds, “It has been brought to our knowledge that during the proceedings today, though the Petitioner’s advocate did not orally seek any interim orders, the Court has passed an order to the effect that the pendency of the petition will not come in the way of government agencies proceeding in the matter.”
Meanwhile, the petitioner has requested that an FIR against Jaising, Grover, and Lawyers Collective for offences under the IPC, PMLA and PC Act. Action for the violation of the Income Tax Act has also been sought.