Madurai: The Madras High Court bench here on Thursday granted interim stay against an order of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Wing (FCRW) of the Union Home Ministry preventing the 450-year-old Tuticorin Diocesan Association from receiving foreign funds and from freezing the Association`s bank account.
Admitting a petition filed by M Jebanathan, Pro-curator and chief functionary of the association here, Justice K Venkatraman also ordered issue of a notice to the FCRW on the petition.
The Home Ministry had passed the order on February 9, 2012, and froze the Association`s bank account as a part of its crackdown against NGOs in the wake of allegations that People`s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the agitation against Kudankulam Nuclar Power Plant, was receiving foreign funds to organise the agitation.
M Jebanathan sought lifting of the ban and defreezeing of the Association`s account in the Bank of Baroda in Hoothukudi.
The Centre failed to issue a show-cause notice and did not allow the Association to explain their stand before passing the order and hence it is in gross violation of the principles of natural justice, the petitioner said.
"The impugned order has failed to consider the fact that it will cause undue hardship to lakhs of marginalised people who stand to benefit from the activities of the petitioner society", Jebanathan said.
According to him, the Association was involved mainlyin educational, health, charity and developmental services, relief and rehabilitation, apart from pastoral and religious service.
"All these 450 years, since its establishment, the Association, epitomising the catholic community, has drawn from the local and foreign resources for maintaining its religious and social structures and its innumerable functions.
The activities of the Association have never been prejudicial to the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the nation", the petitioner said.