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Above: Anna Hazare. Photo: wikimedia

Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma brought to light a startling fact at the Supreme Court on Wednesday (July 12).  In the case emanating from his PIL alleging that funds allocated in the form of financial aids and grants to various NGOs – including one of Kishan Baburao (Anna Hazare) – were being misused, Sharma submitted that no action has been taken till date because “90 percent of the NGOs belong to political parties and bureaucrats”.

The case is being heard by the bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud.

Sharma’s PIL said funds allocated were misappropriated. In the last hearing the court had ordered that the public funds dispersed needs to be properly audited in consonance with rules. The court suggested to the Union of India on January 10 that guidelines be framed before money is given to NGOs.

The court also said that guidelines should also be there for the manner in which the accounts were to be maintained by the NGOs and eventually the process of auditing the utilisation of the funds.

All this was needed to formulate a procedure for recovering dispersed grants in case of misappropriation. On Wednesday one Mr Dey, representing Union of India, said the guidelines prepared by Union of India were sent to 76 different ministries and departments.

This was done to obtain the views of those departments which are all related to the disbursement of funds to NGOs.

It is also apparent from the factual position indicated above that the process to initiate criminal action has commenced. The affidavit of CAPART clearly depicts that facilities and infrastructure are insufficient to take meaningful action in respect of the finances dispersed to NGOs.

It was also pointed out that CAPART is only one of the agency, representing the ministry of rural development, whereas 76 different ministries are involved in dispersing funds.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asked for time to seek instructions from the government and to comply with earlier orders.

The matter has been adjourned for four weeks.

—India Legal Bureau

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