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Madras High Court stays Greenpeace cancellation

The authenticity of allegations of fraud against Greenpeace India Society questioned by the Madras High Court

Press release - November 20, 2015
November 20, 2015: The Madras High Court has stayed a government order cancelling Greenpeace India’s registration, observing that the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies (RoS) had not followed principles of natural justice. This is the sixth time in the last year and a half that Greenpeace and its activists have succeeded against multiple attempts to restrict its operations and funding, as well as to shut it down (1). The Hon’ble Courts have consistently found to be in favour of Greenpeace India.

“We were confident the courts would agree that Greenpeace is on sound legal footing and has done nothing wrong, notwithstanding the government’s ridiculous allegations of fraud in this instance. Our accounts are an open book and on our website for all to inspect,” said Priya Pillai of Greenpeace India.  

The MHA’s clumsy tactics, to suppress free speech and dissenting voices, are turning into a major national and international embarrassment for this government,” she further added.

Greenpeace India Society’s Advocate, Vineet Subramani, was led by Senior Advocate P.S.Raman, who is representing Greenpeace India Society pro bono (without fee).  Mr. Raman said that he “was happy that the Hon’ble Court has granted an unconditional stay of the cancellation of registration.”

Despite the challenges faced by the NGO, its work towards clean air, clean water and clean energy continues. Greenpeace recently launched a free android-based mobile application that alerts citizens to take precaution against dangerous levels of air pollution across the country (2). The NGO has also shown its support for the government’s Solar Energy targets as well as spoken out against US government’s appeal against India’s domestic solar policy at the World Trade Organisation (3). More recently, Greenpeace supported the need for protecting traditional forms of mustard against an imminent threat from genetically modified mustard.

Commenting on this, Pillai added, “We draw tremendous strength from victories like these, as they prove that we are secure in both, our mandate for a green and peaceful future, as well as our constituency of lakhs of Indian supporters. As a people powered organisation, instead of fighting and winning legal battles, we would much rather continue to contribute  to solve India’s serious development challenges - air pollution, disappearing forests, the need for safe food and clean electricity for all. Surely, solving these problems is part of the government’s agenda too. We’d like to once again ask them to collaborate with civil society on these issues.”


For more information contact:

Priya Pillai, , +91 9999357766

Hozefa Merchant, +91 9560706856

Jitendra Kumar,  +91 9868167337

Notes to Editor:

1- Details of previous court hearings related to Greenpeace:

a- Funds being sent by Greenpeace International were blocked - Delhi High Court issued an order directing MHA to allow the transfer - January 2015: http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Press/High-Court-Deems-MHA-action-to-be-Arbitrary-Illegal-and-Unconstitutional-Victory-of-Democracy-says-Greenpeace/

b- Greenpeace employee, Priya Pillai, was offloaded from a London bound flight and her name was put on a lookout circular - Delhi HC rules in Priya’s favor - March 2015: http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Press/Victory-for-Greenpeace-activist-Priya-Pillai--Delhi-HC-overturns-offloading-terms-move-undemocratic/

c- MHA suspends Greenpeace FCRA registration and blocks all bank accounts - Delhi HC issues an interim order allowing Greenpeace to access two of its accoutns - May 2015: http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Press/Delhi-High-court-orders-MHA-to-allow-access-to-Greenpeace-Indias-domestic-accounts/

d- Greenpeace receives a notice from the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Society threatening cancellation. Greenpeace petitions Madras High Court forcing Tamil Nadu Registrar to follow due process - August 2015: http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Press/Delhi-High-court-orders-MHA-to-allow-access-to-Greenpeace-Indias-domestic-accounts/

e- MHA cancels Greenpeace’s FCRA registration - Greenpeace petitioned Madras High Court, and was granted an interim stay. http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Press/Madras-HC-grants-Greenpeace-interim-stay-over-FCRA-cancellation-/

f- Tamil Nadu cancels Greenpeace's registration - Greenpeace petitions Madras High Court - MHA grants an unconditional stay against the cancellation orders issued by the Registrar of Society

2- Clean Air Nation mobile application launched for Android phones - http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Press/Greenpeace-India-launches-Clean-Air-Nation-application-on-Google-Store/

3- Greenpeace supports India’s stand in regards to USA’s appeal against India’s domestic solar policy - http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/greenpeace-asks-modi-to-challenge-obama-on-climate-change-115092500015_1.html