The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the State Bank of India (SBI) to ensure it opens Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) accounts for NGOs within 10 days of receiving approval from the Central government for accepting foreign donations.
The Court was hearing a plea filed by two NGOs that despite receiving the approval from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), SBI was delaying opening of accounts under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). Despite the timely submission of FC-6 certificates with the State Bank of India (SBI), the new designated accounts of the petitioners with the SBI New Delhi Main Branch for receiving foreign contributions, have not been made operational. This has created a difficult situation for the petitioners who are completely unable to receive any foreign contributions and use that money for the sustenance of the organisation and their social outreach programmes.
The Bench of Justice Rekha Palli directed that, “the respondent no. 2 (SBI) shall ensure that all the applications of the petitioners herein, as well as those of a like nature submitted by other similarly situated applicants, shall be processed at the earliest and the relevant bank accounts sought to be set up for receiving foreign contributions shall be made operational within ten days of receipt of the FC6 certificate from the concerned applicant.”
Further, The Court granted liberty to the petitioners to move an application for revival of these petitions in case the respondents fail to adhere to the schedule indicated in order.