The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to complete auditing of NGOs by March 31 while pulling up the government for not putting in place a regulatory mechanism to monitor the funds and their utilisation by NGOs, societies and voluntary organisations.
Hearing a plea seeking monitoring of public funds given to NGOs, the court directed the government and Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) to submit an audit report by March 31.
The apex court said that funds allotted to NGOs by CAPART and other departments is public money and all of it must be accounted for.
Out of over 32 lakh NGOs in the country, only 3 lakh of them file balance sheets. The court has directed the government to take appropriate action for misappropriation of funds against NGOs which do not file their balance sheets to relevant authorities.
Earlier in the day, a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar directed the CAPART, which comes under Rural Development Ministry, to be present before it this afternoon with all relevant records.
The bench, also comprising Justice N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud, asked the officials to inform it whether CAG audit of NGOs post 2009 was carried out or not.
The bench also asked whether General Financial Rules 2005 made by Ministry of Finance were complied with or not.
The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate M L Sharma seeking monitoring of funds given to NGOs and their utilisation.