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Delhi HC halts IT procedures against Oxfam India, accused of violating FCRA and receiving Rs 1.5 crores in foreign funding

The IT notice indicated that Oxfam was involved in activities contrary to Section 8(1) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and had accepted contributions from foreign individuals.

The Delhi High Court has recently halted the Income Tax (IT) reassessment procedures that were started against the non-profit organization, Oxfam India.

On August 4, 2023, a division bench consisting of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Girish Kathpalia issued an interim order and sent a notice to the IT department in response to Oxfam’s plea, which contested the income tax proceedings.

Oxfam became subject to IT proceedings after an office survey on September 7, 2022. On March 29, 2023, Oxfam received a notice under Section 148A(b) of the IT Act.

The notice indicated that Oxfam was involved in activities contrary to Section 8(1) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and had accepted contributions from foreign individuals.

Additionally, it was claimed that Oxfam did not acknowledge more than ₹15 crores as revenue. This sum was reportedly received as an advance for upcoming projects.

The authorities also asserted that the NGO did not allocate 85% of its total receipts for its intended purposes within the applicable period, as mandated by the IT Act provisions concerning charitable or non-profit entities.

Earlier this year, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs recommended a CBI probe against Oxfam India over alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. The Income Tax Authorities conducted a survey at Oxfam’s Delhi headquarters in September 2022 on possible economic irregularities. A survey was also done by the department at the CPR (Centre for Policy Research) think tank in Delhi. Authorities reportedly suspect that Oxfam India might have sent money in the form of a commission to the Centre for Policy Research.

“Oxfam India continued to transfer Foreign Contributions to various entities even after coming into force of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020 which prohibits such transfers. The amendment came into force on September 29, 2020. Oxfam India transferred funds to other NGOs, violating provisions of the FCRA, 2010,” a source in the Home Ministry said.

“Oxfam India, which is registered to carry out social activities, routed funds to the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) through its associates and employees in the form of commission,” the sources said. The same is also reflected in the TDS data of Oxfam India which shows a payment of Rs 12,71,188 to the CPR in the Financial Year 2019-20 under section 1943.

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