FCRA application for NGO with foreigner members on board

The FCRA does not distinguish between registered and unregistered organisations, but the implications of section 6(1) virtually ensures that only already registered organisations would be able to get themselves registered under FCRA. Section 6(1), categorically specifies that organisations having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme shall only accept foreign contribution. In the absence of registration and written documentation, it may not be possible for an organisation to prove definiteness of its aims and objectives. Therefore only those organisations will be eligible for registration under FCRA, which are registered under Societies Registration Act, 1860, the Companies Act, 1956, the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950 or as a public trust under general law.

In the light of the above discussion, under FCRA, an organisation registered in India, having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme is entitled to apply for registration. In India legally valid charitable organisations can be registered as society or trust with foreigners as board members/trustees. Therefore, there is no legal bar on such organisation in making an application to the FCRA.

FCRA authorities may exercise greater vigil and caution in processing such application. But as a matter of internal practice FCRA is not granting registration to organisation with foreigners on board. Such registration are given only in exceptional circumstances, very few instances are available.

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