Association

The Trusts Acts and Societies Act regulate the registration and operation of civil society organisations while specific procedures, including registration renewal, vary from state to state. Organisations are required to register under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) before receiving any foreign funds. The government has used the legislation to harass NGOs and activists. For example, in June 2016, the government banned the Sabrang Trust from receiving funds under the FCRA. Organisations that promote human rights, government accountability, environmental rights, and equitable development policies are coming under particular pressure. For example, Greenpeace India has been especially targeted as the government prevented one of its staff member from travelling to the UK in January 2015 and froze the organisation’s bank accounts. Furthermore, the government is currently investigating two of its Indian subsidiaries for tax evasion. Most recently, in mid-2016, the government decided to extend the application of corruption legislation – introduced initially to curb public-sector corruption – to civil society organisations. CSOs worry that having to comply with this law will result in an increase in state surveillance and interference with the legitimate activities of civil society.