NEW DELHI: The
on Tuesday set July 31 deadline for the tenure of Enforcement Directorate director Sanjay Mishra. The top court said the third extension granted to the 1984 batch IRS officer was illegal as it was against its directions. The present extended term of
was to end in November 2023.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai, Vikram Nath and Sanjay Karol said in view of the peer review being conducted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this year and to enable smooth transition, Mishra’s tenure will be till July 31.
The Centre had defended extension granted to Mishra stating that the officer was overseeing the peer review being conducted by the FATF.
Mishra was first appointed
director for a term of two years in November 2018. Later, by an order dated November 13, 2020, the central government modified the appointment letter retrospectively and his two-year term was changed to three years. in 2022, the government promulgated an ordinance under which the tenure of the ED and
chiefs could be extended by up to three years after the mandated term of two years.
The top court, however, upheld the constitutional validity of amendment in CVC, DSPE Acts to grant five years tenure to ED and CBI chiefs.
“The amendments brought in Central Vigilance Commission Act and Delhi Special Police Establishment Act are not arbitrary and legislature is competent to change the law to grant extension of tenure to ED and ED chiefs,” the apex court said.
The Supreme Court allayed apprehensions that extension of tenure to ED and CBI directors would compromise the independence of the agencies and said that there are ample safeguards in the acts to prevent any misuse.
The bench gave the verdict on a batch of petitions, including those filed by Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Jaya Thakur and TMC’s Mahua Moitra and Saket Gokhale.