Decided on March 06,2020

UNION OF INDIA Respondents

Cited Judgements :-



L.NAGESWARA RAO,J. - (1.)The Appellant filed a Writ Petition in the High Court of Delhi for a declaration that Sections 5 (1) and 5 (4) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') and Rules 3 (i), 3 (v) and 3 (vi) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules'), are violative of Articles 14, 19 (1) (a), 19 (1) (c) and 21 of the Constitution of India. The High Court dismissed the Writ Petition, aggrieved by which this appeal has been filed. The Appellant is a registered society involved in resisting globalization, combating communalism and defending democracy. In the Writ Petition filed before the High Court, the Appellant-organisation stated that it firmly believes in a secular and peaceful social order and opposes communalism and the targeted attacks on the lives and rights of people including religious minorities. Several activities of the Appellant-organisation in the interest of the society have been referred to in the Writ Petition. The power conferred by the Act on the Central Government to declare an organisation to be an organisation of a political nature under Section 5 (1) of the Act was challenged by the Appellant on the ground that no guidelines are provided for the exercise of such power. Section 5 (4) of the Act was assailed on the ground that the authority to which a representation made by the aggrieved party is to be forwarded, has not been specified. According to the Appellant, the guidelines provided in Rule 3 of the Rules are impermissibly wide, giving arbitrary discretion to the authorities which would result in abuse of the power. It was alleged in the Writ Petition that the Rules suffer from unreasonableness and arbitrariness. Hence, the Appellant prayed for declaring Rules 3 (i), 3 (v) and 3 (vi) as violative of the fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 14, 19 (1) (a), 19 (1) (c) and 21 of the Constitution.
(2.)After considering the relevant provisions of the Act and the submissions made on behalf of the Appellant, the High Court of Delhi dismissed the Writ Petition as being bereft of merit.
(3.)Mr. Sanjay Parikh, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the Appellant submitted that Section 5 (1) of the Act confers unguided and uncanalised power on the Central Government to specify an organisation as an organisation of a political nature not being a political party. He submitted that Rule 3 (i), 3 (v) and 3 (vi) which contain the guidelines and grounds, suffer from the vice of vagueness. According to Mr. Parikh, Rules 3 (i), 3 (v) and 3 (vi) require to be declared as unconstitutional as they are vague, overbroad and unreasonable. He urged that the vagueness in the said provisions leads to arbitrary exercise of power in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. He further submitted that an organisation, the activity of which is to educate and promote civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights cannot be prevented from having access to funding, whether domestic or foreign. Curtailing the right of the Appellant-organisation in having access to foreign funds would result in the violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19 (1) (a) and 19 (1) (c) of the Constitution. He relied upon the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which have been accepted as sources of human rights by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. Mr.Parikh submitted that political rights are an integral part of human rights and any restriction in exercise of political rights would be unconstitutional.

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