The Center on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the right to receive foreign donations is not a fundamental right and could have “disastrous consequences” if not regulated.
Defending the amendments made in the ‘Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) – 2010’, the government has directed Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that the aim of the change is to streamline the compliance mechanism and increase transparency and accountability. “There is no doubt that the right to receive foreign contribution is not a fundamental right and has to be regulated,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench.
Mehta told the bench that as per the information received from the Intelligence Bureau (IB), there are instances that some funds received from foreign contributions have been misused for training of Naxalites. The bench has completed its hearing on several petitions in the matter.
The Solicitor General said that India as a nation has always been very aware of foreign donations and has a policy to avoid any misuse of such funding. Mehta said that each foreign contribution would be received only in an account designated as FCRA account, which would be opened at the main branch of State Bank of India (SBI) in New Delhi. He also referred to the affidavit filed by the Center in the apex court in the matter, which said that based on the procedure, more than 19,000 accounts have already been opened in the main branch of SBI, New Delhi.
The top court, while reserving the decision, said that written submissions should be filed by the Center and the petitioners within a week. Earlier, in its affidavit filed in the court, the Center had said that receiving “unbridled foreign donations” without any regulation is not a fundamental right.