10.24 percent of NGOs provide balance sheets: SC informed

New Delhi: Only 10.24 percent of the registered NGOs in the country have complied with the prerequisite of providing balance sheets and other financial details, CBI today informed the Supreme Court. The affidavit filed by the agency gave data of NGOs from 21 states and seven Union Territories which have submitted their annual income-expenditure statements to the authorities

CBI submitted that out of 23,95,579 NGOs in 21 states, approximately 2,43,955 of them had filed their balance sheets with the authorities and, in seven Union Territories, of the 73,213 NGOs, only 50 have submitted their returns.

Placing a fresh affidavit, the agency told a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Sikri that the stage was all set to go ahead with the hearing on the issue of scrutinising alleged embezzlement of funds by the NGOs, as most states barring a few like Telangana have provided the balance sheets and other details of such registered organisations.

The agency, which filed the latest affidavit, said only a few states have not responded but the court could go ahead with the hearing. Responding to the January 5 notice, Tamil Nadu provided details stating that out of about 1,55,608 NGOs, 2,0277 have provided their balance sheets, while no information was received from Telangana.

"Information from state of Telangana has not been received despite reminders. Further reminders in this regard have been issued," the CBI affidavit said.

Further, the affidavit said that in pursuance to the January 5 order, reminders were issued to Chief Secretaries of 10 states/UTs from whom either partial or no information was received and "in response thereof complete information has been received from Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Delhi".

Maintaining that more time was required for compilation and analysing the entire information, CBI sought another three months time for it. During the earlier hearing, Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia had said the NGOs would not be eligible for any
grant unless they complied with the condition of filing statements of income and expenditure of last three years.

The apex court had expanded the scope of the PIL which was filed in 2011 by advocate M L Sharma against an NGO, Hind Swaraj Trust, run by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare. The PIL had sought probe into alleged embezzlement of funds. The agency, in its fresh affidavit, only gave the details about Tamil Nadu. The other data was identical to that provided on January 5 in compliance with the September 2, 2013 order and an annexure in it stated that out of 97,437 NGOs in Assam, none have filed their balance sheets.

Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh are the other states where the NGOs have not filed their balance sheets. CBI said the information received from Union Territories indicated that NGOs in Lakshadweep, Chandigarh and Daman & Diu were not submitting their returns. The affidavit said that exception was the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Mizoram where all the 147 and 34 registered NGOs respectively filed their balance sheets.

It said only 652 out of 33,781 NGOs in Bihar submitted the income expenditure statement to the authority and in Jharkhand 3,185 NGOs out of 11,597 have met the requirement.

In Maharashtra, 77,766 NGOs out of 5,18,437 complied in filing income statement while in Sikkim 16 out of 143 NGOs have done the needful. CBI said in Uttar Pradesh out of 5,48,148 NGOs, about 1,19,000 have filed their balance sheets while in Gujarat out of 61,959 NGOs, approximately 5,539 have complied with the requirement.

The annexure in the affidavit stated that in Uttarakhand and West Bengal, there were 62,632 and about 2,34,000 NGOs respectively. However, it states that in Uttarakhand, NGOs are not submitting their balance sheets on yearly basis and file it at the time of their renewal after every five years.

Further, West Bengal government has informed the CBI that out of approximately 2,34,000 NGOs, 17,089 may be considered as active ones which have been filing annual returns. CBI said that information received indicated that in states like Kerala, Punjab and Rajasthan, there was no provision in the state laws requiring NGOs to furnish balance sheets. In these states, there are 3,69,137, 84,752 and 1,36,978 NGOs respectively registered with authorities.

The apex court during the hearing on November 17, 2014 had asked the probe agency to write to the chief secretaries of the states which were not providing the details despite the court order in this regard.

The court in July had granted three more months to CBI to provide details about all registered NGOs. NGOs have come under judicial scrutiny with the Supreme Court on September 2, 2013 asking the CBI to provide details about registered organisations and their financial statements on a PIL seeking probe into alleged embezzlement of funds.

Earlier, the agency had expressed difficulty in probing and collecting information on NGOs and pleaded that the task be handed over to states, but the plea was summarily rejected by the court which directed CBI to comply with its order.

"If CBI can probe murder cases then why not probe against NGOs? You can do so many things, you do this also," the bench had said.

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