Bill Passed in Lok Sabha to extend the tenure of CBI, ED Directors up to 5 years

The Lok Sabha on Thursday 9-12-2021 has passed the Delhi Special Police (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seek to extend the tenure of Director of CBI and ED up to 5 years which was 2 years previously.

On December 3, the Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh had sought the introduction of the bills in Lok Sabha. Amidst objection from the opposition parties on the introduction of these bills, the house allowed the introduction via voice-vote.

The two Bills provide that extension of tenure of Director of CBI and ED can be done for one year at a time subject to a maximum of 5 years.

Earlier, the Centre had issued two ordinances in this regard.

Ordiance I

The ordinance with respect to CBI Director had amended Section 4-B of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 by inserting a proviso to that effect.

The proviso reads:

“Provided that the period for which the Director holds office on his initial appointment may, in public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee under sub-section (1) of section 4A and for the reasons to be recorded in writing, be extended up to one year at a time:

Provided further that no such extension shall be granted after the completion of a period of five years in total including the period mentioned in the initial appointment.”

Ordiance II

The similar amendment has been made to Central Vigilance Commission Act (CVC Act), 2003 by inserting a proviso to Section 25 of the CVC Act.

The said proviso reads:

“Provided that the period for which the Director of Enforcement holds the office on his initial appointment may, in public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee under clause (a) and for the reasons to be recorded in writing, be extended up to one year at a time:

Provided further that no such extension shall be granted after the completion of a period of five years in total including the period mentioned in the initial appointment.”

Challanged in Supreme Court

Earlier, the ordinances have been challenged in Supreme Court citing violation of the recent Supreme Court judgment in Common Cause v. Union of India.

The Supreme Court Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai had ruled that the Central government has powers to make retrospective changes but it should be done in the rarest of rare cases.

In that judgment, the Supreme court had stated that any extension of tenure granted to persons holding the post of Director of Enforcement after attaining the age of superannuation should be for a short period.

It should be done only in rare and exceptional cases and a 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 (a) of the CVC Act, the Court had said.

The Court had also said that the tenure of Sanjay Kumar Mishra which was set to expire, cannot be extended further.

However, the Centre had after introducing the ordinances, extended the tenure of Mishra.

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