Madras HC raps District Registrar in Greenpeace case

Press release - August 4, 2015
Chennai, 4 August 2015: The Madras High Court today served an order forcing the Tamil Nadu State District Registrar of Society to acknowledge Greenpeace’s response to its show cause notice as well as allow access to public records and respond to the NGO’s questions. After receiving a notice threatening shutdown, Greenpeace had approached the Madras High Court alleging that the charges were perversely framed and maliciously designed.

Madras HC raps District Registrar in Greenpeace case

-  Directs the officials to allow Greenpeace access to inspect public records

-  Forces District Registrar to respond to the NGO’s submissions made in previous letters, together with further questions

-  Directs the District Registrar to follow process

“Even as MHA officials made public proclamations about Greenpeace’ status in the country, our letters to the Registrar’s office, seeking more information on the show-cause notice, were being studiously ignored,” said Vinuta Gopal, interim Co-Executive Director of Greenpeace India, “In such a situation, we were left with no choice but to seek legal recourse, and are glad to see that the courts have once again defended our rights.”

In the face of an orchestrated crackdown spearheaded by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the NGO has had to seek legal recourse several times. “We have got three orders in our favour from the Delhi High Court and the current order from the Madras High Court confirms our right to full information” added Gopal.

The petition (22883/2015) in which Greenpeace had alleged that due process was not being followed and the right to natural justice was being denied was heard by Justice M. M. Sundresh. Tamil Nadu District Registrar of Societies had accused Greenpeace of several inconsistencies while failing to acknowledge Greenpeace’s response to its notice as well as its request to examine public records.

Greenpeace’s earlier request to the Registrar of Society to allow access to public records had gone unheeded. Justice Sundresh, today, directed the District Registrar to allow Greenpeace to examine public records. “Amongst other things, we have been asking the Registrar to clarify on what basis they have been demanding the cancellation of Greenpeace’ society registration”, Gopal added.  

The Court has directed the Registrar to allow Greenpeace access to public records within two weeks. Thereafter Greenpeace will have four weeks to submit its response to the show cause notice. The Judge also directed the Registrar to give reasons with respect to each of Greenpeace’s submissions in its final order.

For more information, contact:

Anindita Datta Choudhury, , +91 9871515804

Avinash Kumar, , +91 8359826363

Jitendra Kumar, , +919868167337

Notes to the Editor:

1. MHA official’s statement to media:

Briefing paper for the media: Contains RoS allegations along with Greenpeace rebuttal