Centre brings in ordinance to extend tenure of CBI, ED chiefs up to 5 years

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The development comes two months after the Supreme Court ruled that extensions beyond the date of superannuation of an individual should be rare, in exceptional cases only. The apex court had asked the Centre not to further extend the tenure of current ED Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra, whose already extended tenure ends in a week’s time.

In a controversial decision, 15-days before Parliament’s session is due to begin, the Centre on Sunday brought in an ordinance amending the Delhi Police Special Establishment (DPSE) Act and the Central Vigilance Act (CVC) to extend the tenure of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chiefs up to five years.

The extension includes the fixed two year terms for the directors of both the premier investigation agencies.

The development comes two months after the Supreme Court ruled that extensions beyond the date of superannuation of an individual should be rare, in exceptional cases only. The apex court had asked the Centre not to further extend the tenure of current ED Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra, whose already extended tenure ends in a week’s time.

The decision of the Court in September came on a petition filed by NGO Common Cause which challenged the government’s decision of November 13, 2020 to retrospectively grant an extension to Mishra by converting his original tenure of two years beginning November 19, 2018 into a three-year one. The decision met the approval of the High-Powered Committee chaired by Central Vigilance Commissioner in the interest of supervising some important investigations handled by ED that were at a crucial stage.

However, the latest ordinance is likely to circumvent the SC ruling and make Mishra eligible for another two years’ extension.

The ordinance, amending Section 25 of the CVC Act, states that the extension of five years will include the original appointment of fixed two-year tenure. Both CBI and ED chiefs have a fixed tenure of two years.

The ordinance has been promulgated by the President of India.

Currently, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal is the Director of CBI.

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