The February 2012 government order froze the bank account of the 450-year-old association and prevented it from receiving foreign funds.
Madurai: A Madras High Court bench based in Madurai Thursday granted interim stay against an order of the federal Home Ministry freezing the Tuticorin Diocesan Association’s bank account.
The February 9, 2012 order of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Wing (FCRW) of the Home Ministry prevented the 450-year-old association from receiving foreign funds and froze its bank account.
Admitting a petition filed by M Jebanathan, pro-curator and chief functionary of the association
here, Justice K Venkatraman also ordered issue of a notice to the FCRW on the petition.
The federal government’s move was part of its crackdown against NGOs in the wake of allegations that the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the agitation against the plant, was receiving foreign funds to fuel the agitation.
Jebanathan sought lifting of the ban and defreezeing of the Association's account in the Bank of Baroda in Hoothukudi, Tamil Nadu.
The Centre failed to issue a show-cause notice and did not allow the association to explain their stand before passing the order and hence it is in gross violation of the principles of natural justice, the petitioner said.
"The impugned order has failed to consider the fact that it will cause undue hardship to lakhs of marginalised people who stand to benefit from the activities of the petitioner society", Jebanathan said.
According to him, the association was involved mainly in educational, health, charity and developmental services, relief and rehabilitation, apart from pastoral and religious service.
"All these 450 years, since its establishment, the Association, epitomising the catholic community, has drawn from the local and foreign resources for maintaining its religious and social structures and its innumerable functions.
The activities of the Association have never been prejudicial to the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the nation", the petitioner said.Source: Zee news
Tuticorin Diocese , Tuticorin Diocesan Association , Madras High Court
Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao of Delhi has asked the federal government to “immediately” lift the ban on the bank accounts of Tuticorin diocese and several other NGOs in Tamil Nadu.
The recent ban is "gross injustice" to these organizations and "unfair" to the poor and oppressed who benefit from their work, the archbishop said in a statement yesterday.
He said he supported the Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council's demand for revoking the ban on Tuticorin diocese.
The government has accused Tuticorin diocese of diverting funds it received from overseas for social service and other purposes to support the protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant.
Archbishop Concessao said that he has learnt from the local bishops that the diocese has in no way misused the foreign contributions.
“The Church always strictly follows the rules laid down by the government for the use of foreign contribution and the money is solely used for the welfare of the poor.
The prelate said that the Church organizations all over the country are involved in “alleviating the pains and pangs of the poor and helping the government in what it should be actually doing,” he said.
He appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram to make proper inquiries before taking such a “drastic step.”Source: press statement