HomeWhat's TrendingUnion Home Ministry Revokes Church of North India's Foreign Funding License

Union Home Ministry Revokes Church of North India’s Foreign Funding License

The Union Home Ministry has taken a significant step by revoking the foreign funding license of the Church of North India, citing alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), according to Ministry sources. This move bars the organisation from receiving foreign donations.

For over five decades, this prominent evangelical body has been actively involved in propagating Christianity in India and has historically received substantial donations from the US, UK, Canada, and Europe.

Having amalgamated six different organisations since 1970, including the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma (Myanmar), Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and other Christian entities, the Church of North India oversees churches across North India. Claiming a membership of 22 lakhs, it boasts control over 28 regions through appointed bishops, managing more than 2,200 pastors and 4,500 churches.

Under its umbrella, the Church of North India operates 564 schools and colleges along with 60 nursing and medical colleges. Renowned institutions like the ‘Law Martinier College’ of Lakshmanpuri fall under its jurisdiction, along with several missionary schools in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

This action comes amid a controversy involving an alleged land scam worth ₹10,000 crore, where some priests of the Church of North India were accused of forging documents and selling hundreds of acres of land.

Notably, in the past year, several prominent NGOs, including the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, Oxfam India, Centre for Policy Research (CPR), and Care India, have faced FCRA license cancellations or suspensions.

The recent revocation of the Church of North India’s foreign funding license by the Union Home Ministry underscores the vital importance of stringent adherence to the regulations laid out in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. Vakilsearch experts emphasise that this development serves as a stark reminder for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and similar entities receiving foreign contributions to prioritise legal compliance to avoid facing similar repercussions.

Maintaining absolute conformity with FCRA guidelines is imperative for any organisation seeking to operate seamlessly while accepting foreign funds. The complexities of compliance demand thorough understanding and meticulous adherence to legal norms. Vakilsearch stresses the need for NGOs to seek expert legal guidance and support to navigate the intricacies of FCRA regulations effectively.

Expert legal counsel plays a pivotal role in ensuring that NGOs meet the necessary compliance standards, thereby averting potential complications that could arise due to misinterpretation or non-adherence to FCRA guidelines. By proactively engaging legal services, organisations can safeguard themselves against license revocations or suspensions, ensuring uninterrupted operations while receiving foreign contributions.

Akash G Varadaraj