The Ministry of External Affairs responded by saying that violations of law cannot be condoned on the pretext of human rights. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet appealed to the government of India to safeguard the rights of human rights defenders and NGOs and their ability to carry out their crucial work in behalf of the many groups they represent. It was also expressed regret at the tightening of space for human rights NGOs in particular, including by the application of vaguely worded laws that constrain NGO’s activities and restrict foreign funding.
India has long had a strong civil society, which has been at the forefront of groundbreaking human rights advocacy within the country and globally. The FCRA has been invoked over the yers to justify an array of highly intrusive measures, ranging from official raids on NGO offices and freezing of bank accounts, to suspension or cancellation of registration, including of civil society organizations that have engaged with Un human rights bodies.
Responding to the concerns expressed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ministry of External Affairs said that violations of law cannot be condoned under the pretext of human rights. India is a democratic polity based on the rule of law and an independent judiciary. The framing of laws is obviously a sovereign prerogative. Violations of law, however, cannot be condoned under the pretext if human rights. A more informed view of the matter was expected of a UN body.