Courts Update Supreme Court verdict on ED director’s tenure extension today

Supreme Court verdict on ED director’s tenure extension today

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New Delhi Sept 8(ILNS): The Supreme Court said “extension of tenure” granted to officers who are attaining the age of superannuation should be done into only “exceptional cases” while noting down that the Central government has extended the tenure of the Director of Enforcement in the Directorate of Enforcement beyond the period of 2 years. 

“Reasonable period of extension can be granted to facilitate the completion of ongoing investigations only after reasons are recorded by the committee constituted under section 25 of CVC act,” the Apex Court holds,” held by the bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao. 

Further, the Court stated, “Any extension of tenure granted to persons holding to the post of Directorate of Enforcement after attaining the age of superannuation should be for a short period.”

The Supreme Court made the above observations during the pronouncement of judgment in the plea filed by an NGO named “Common Cause” challenging retrospective extension of ED Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra’s tenure beyond 2 years.

The bench which also comprises Justice BR Gavai and Justice BV Nagarathna said, “We do not intend to interfere with the extension of tenure of the 2nd respondent/Sanjay Mishra in the instant case. For the reason that his (Sanjay Mishra) tenure is coming to end in November 2021, we make it clear that no further extension shall be granted to him.” 

The Court has dismissed the writ petition with the above observations. 

The petition was filed by NGO Common Cause (A Registered Society) seeking a direction to the Central Government to appoint a Director to Enforcement Directorate in a fair & transparent manner. The petitioner had submitted in its petition that at the end of Mishra’s two-year tenure as the ED Director, he would have been ineligible for reappointment by virtue of Section 25 of the CVC Act, 2003.

The petition had further submitted that according to provisions of the CVC Act, a Committee recommends the candidate to be appointed as the ED Director, not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Central Government and he shall continue to hold office for a period of not less than two years.

Mr. Sanjay Mishra was appointed as the Director of ED vide order dated November 19, 2018, and his mandatory two years tenure prescribed under the CVC Act came to an end on November 18, last year. His tenure had however been extended for one more year by the impugned Office Order dated November 13, whereby the 2018 amendment Order for appointment had been amended such that the period of ‘two years’ written in that order has been modified to a period of ‘three years. Thus, in effect, Mishra has been given an additional one year of service as Director, Enforcement Directorate.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan representing the petitioner contended that the extension of tenure of Mr. Mishra is destroying the independence of ED, it has become means for harassment. 

He further submitted that there is no provision in the CVC Act for extension of service of the Director, Enforcement Directorate nor any enabling provision which provides for such retrospective modification of appointment orders./ILNS/DS/KR/SNG

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