Delhi High Court adjourns Swami Narayan Mandir plea on FCRA annual return filing for 2019-20

The Delhi High Court on Monday adjourned hearing on a plea filed by the Swami Narayan Mandir seeking to extend the last date of filing annual returns for financial year 2019-20 by a period of three months or more, and to direct the Ministry of Home Affairs to allow the petitioner to upload Form FC-4 on their portal so as to enable the petitioner to file their annual returns for financial year 2019-20.

A single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli upon the request of advocate Farman Ali (Centre) listed the matter along with WP (C) : 9564/2021 on December 16, on account of matters being similar in facts and issues. According to the petition, the petitioner is Swami Narayan Mandir, a non-profit organization carrying out social, devotional, medical and religious charitable activities.

The petition averred that the petitioners were unable to file their annual returns for 2019-20 as mandated under Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 due to technical difficulties in filling Form FC-4 electronically on FCRA portal of Ministry of Home Affairs. The petition states that Annual Return was ready to be filed by June 30, 2021 but could not be filed due to technical glitches on the FCRA website, any coercive action taken against the petitioner would amount to penalizing them for not performing an impossible task.

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The petition further states that they had filled form FC-4 and when it was proceeding to save the donor wise entries, the same were shown as saved but the details were not getting saved in the FCRA portal. The FCRA portal was taking a lot of time to save the data filed, which resulted in the petitioner being logged out multiple times, without saving any data. One time, the petitioner was able to fill up and save the date, but when it clicked on the submit button, the petitioner was logged out. In another instance, the portal read, “you are not required to file annual return for the current block year”.

The petitioner filed two representations with the Ministry of Home Affairs, but no response was received. The petition was filed through Advocate Rajat Bhatia.

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