New Delhi: Senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, founders of an NGO Lawyers Collective, on Wednesday alleged they were being victimized.
The allegation came after the Supreme Court issued notices to them and their NGO on a plea seeking probe and filing of a case against it for allegedly infringing rules related to receipt and utilization of foreign funds.
Indira Jaising said she and the NGO was being targeted as she pursued the cause of former Supreme Court employee who had levelled sexual harassment charge against CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
In a press statement, advocates Jaising and Grover said: “We are deeply disturbed by the turn of events.”
Citing the allegation of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Jaising said she pursued the cause of the former apex court employee, in her capacity as a “citizen, a senior member of the Bar and a women’s rights advocate, without commenting on the merits of the allegations”.
The former court staffer had levelled allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Gogoi. On May 6, the in-house inquiry Committee of the top court rejected these allegations.
NGO Lawyers Collective misutilized funds for activities against nation, alleges PIL
A PIL against NGO Lawyers Collective has been filed by another NGO Lawyer’s Voice. The PIL by NGO Lawyer’s Voice alleged that Jaisingh, Grover and the Lawyers Collective violated the provisions of the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act and that the funds collected were misutilized for “activities against the nation”.
It also cited the Centre’s order suspending the license of Lawyers Collective in 2016 and permanently cancelling it for alleged violation of the FCRA.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Gogoi has asked Jaising and Grover, founders of Lawyers Collective, to respond to this plea.
The court also issued a notice to the Union Home Ministry, seeking its response.
Jaising violated Advocates Act by accepting funds from a foreign entity: PIL
The PIL cites Jaising allegedly violated the Advocates Act by accepting funds from a foreign entity and then utilized the money for the NGO to travel abroad during her tenure as a law officer.
Citing the November 27, 2016, order cancelling the FCRA registration of the NGO after it was found that it broke the rules, the petition also seeks direction to the Centre to bring on record all the evidence that supported the passing of the order.
Lawyers Collective rejects charges
Rejecting the charges, the Lawyers Collective, in its statement, noted that it has had no foreign funding since 2016, when its FCRA registration was suspended and subsequently cancelled by the Ministry of Home Affairs on “false and illegal grounds”.
It has “taken up appropriate legal proceedings against the cancellation in accordance with the law”. “In any event, we strongly dispute any allegation of mis-utilisation of any funds,” it said.
(With Agency Inputs)