Supreme Court upholds extension of ED director tenure till November

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the Centre to extend the tenure of the director of enforcement Sanjay Kumar Mishra till November 2021, making it clear that he will not be entitled to any further extension.

New Delhi :

A bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai said, “For the reason that his (Mishra) tenure is ending in November 2021, we have refused to interfere. However, we make it clear that no further extension is to be granted to him.”

The court decided the issue in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Common Cause which challenged the decision of the government to grant a retrospective one-year extension to Mishra on November 13, 2020 after his superannuation in May 2020. He was initially appointed as ED Director for two years beginning November 19, 2018 and by the November 13, 2020 order, his tenure was amended retrospectively to three years.

The bench said, “We have upheld the power of the Centre to extend the tenure of ED director beyond two years. We make it clear that any extension should be only in rare and exceptional cases. Any extension granted to persons beyond superannuation should be for a short tenure.”

“Considering the huge ramifications, if the government feels that in the interest of preserving the pending investigations, the officer must continue, is it necessary that curtains should fall when he crosses the two-year stage?”

The government had informed the court that in the last two years as director, Mishra was instrumental in helping the ED recover a sum of nearly ₹9,000 crore worth proceeds of crime in the investigation of three cases involving Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. The bench replied saying, “We appreciate that he is doing good work. But you cannot continue with him till all these cases are over.”