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Delhi HC Allows CPR to Access to 25% Unutilised Funds

CPR's counsel argued that the FCRA suspension severely impacted their operations and salaries of employees.
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court permitted the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a think tank, to access 25% of its unutilised funds and scheduled the hearing for CPR's FCRA license suspension case on January 11, 2024, the Bar and Bench reported.

The CPR had gone to the High Court challenging the central government's decision of February 27, 2023 to suspend its FCRA license. It concurrently filed an application under Rule 14 of FCRA Rules, enabling the use of unutilised funds. This rule allows spending up to 25% of unutilised funds for declared objectives with prior approval from the central government. 

Justice Subramonium Prasad allowed the plea. 

According to the report, CPR's case was that it had approached the central government with this application in March but that the government has not taken a decision despite over six months having been passed.

CPR's counsel, Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar, argued that the suspension severely impacted their operations, leading to over 80 scientists and employees departing due to six months of unpaid salaries, the Bar and Bench reported.

Advocate Arunima Dwivedi, representing the Central government, stated that proceedings were initiated based on evidence against CPR. CPR's plea had sought clarification, which the government responded to in May. Dwivedi contended that "unutilised amount" referred to unspent funds, excluding those in fixed deposits.

Centre for Policy Research, a research institution addressing India's 21st-century challenges, has been operational since 1973, with leadership from Meenakshi Gopinath, Yamini Aiyar, Shyam Saran, and Shyam Divan. 

The organisation faced difficulties following an Income Tax department survey last year, which led to reassessment proceedings, FCRA license suspension, and the loss of tax-exempt status. The government alleged that CPR misused funds related to the Hasdeo movement against coal mining in Chhattisgarh forests, diverting them to litigation instead of research.

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