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Mahua Moitra Moves SC Against Centre’s Ordinances To Extend Tenure Of CBI, ED Chiefs

Mahua Moitra Moves SC Against Centre’s Ordinance On CBI, ED Chiefs Tenure

All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) parliamentarian Mahua Moitra has approached the Supreme Court challenging the twin Ordinances issued by the Centre allowing the heads of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Directorate of Enforcement (ED) to remain in office for up to five years.

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Mahua Moitra, TMC MP

The petition by Mahua Moitra has attacked the two Ordinances — Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance and Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance on four grounds – legislative incompetence, circumventing the Supreme Court order of September 8 directing extension of ED Director only in “rare and exceptional circumstances”, independence of investigation agencies, and malafide attached to government decision.

The TMC MP, in her petition said that the CBI Director and Director, Enforcement have a fixed minimum tenure of two years protected by the 1997 Supreme Court decision in the Vineet Narain case.

On September 8 the Supreme Court had upheld the Government’s decision to grant a one-year extension to the incumbent ED Director but with a rider stating that such “extension of tenure granted to officers who have attained the age of superannuation should be done only in rare and exceptional cases”.

The petition said, “Executive cannot nullify a judgment of this Court through an executive act, like an Ordinance….The CVC (Amendment) thus suffers from legislative incompetence.”

She further stated, “A one-year period cannot be termed as a short extension in view of the fact that the total tenure of both CBI and ED Directors is contemplated as two years in law.”

By the present Ordinances under challenge, amendments have been made to Section 25 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 and Section 4B of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.

The twin amendments allow the Centre to extend the original tenure of CBI, ED chiefs by one year at a time.

The amendment to both the Acts suggests, “No such extension shall be granted after the completion of five years in total, including the period sanctioned in the initial appointment.”

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