Justice Rekha Palli issued the order after the court was informed by some NGOs that despite receiving the approval from the Union home ministry, the SBI was delaying opening of accounts under the FCRA.
The court was told that the bank was not operationalising the FCRA accounts in time, even after the necessary approval certificate was submitted to it, and that this was leading to delay in receipt of foreign contributions. The home ministry informed the court that it has extended till June 30 the deadline for NGOs to open FCRA accounts.
The ministry told the court that “validity of registration certificates issued to the NGOs which expired or would expire between September 29, 2020, and September 30, 2021, have been extended up to September 30, 2021”. Besides, the time limit for online submission of annual returns for 2019-20 has been extended to June 30 from the earlier date of December 31, 2020, the ministry said in an affidavit.
The affidavit was filed in response to the court’s suggestion on May 13 to consider extending the deadline for NGOs to create an FCRA account to receive foreign contributions. The court’s order had come on pleas filed by two NGOs, Comfort Ministries and Mothers Touch Charity Foundation, which had not received approval of the ministry despite applying for and opening an FCRA account in the SBI in accordance with the amended law.