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Punitive action against Centre for Policy Research ‘unconstitutional’: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday termed as “unconstitutional” the government cancelling the FCRA registration of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), and said if research and opinion must toe the government line, that would be the end of academic freedom.

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The Union Home Ministry has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of the CPR for allegedly misutilising foreign funds to affect India’s economic interests, and aid protests and legal battles against development projects.

The public think-tank termed the government move “incomprehensible and disproportionate” and vowed to seek legal recourse against the decision.

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In a post on X, Chidambaram said, “If independent research and opinion can point out the deficiencies in the economic policies, that would be good for the country. At least that is what I thought.”

“But government thinks that such research and opinion ‘hurt India’s economic interests’. Who is the ultimate judge of India’s economic interests? The government or the people?” the former home minister said.

“If Research and Opinion must toe the Government line, that would be the end of academic freedom. Perhaps the government thinks that when there is NITI Aayog, why should anyone else do research and offer opinions?” Chidambaram said.

The punitive action against Centre for Policy Research is “absolutely unconstitutional”, he claimed.

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