Daily News Analysis

Extension of Tenure

16th November, 2021 Polity

Figure 4: No Copyright Infringement Intended

Context:

  • Government amended Fundamental Rules (FR) to facilitate extended tenure and in-service benefits to CBI and ED directors.
  • Government has issued two ordinances which virtually extended the tenures of the chiefs of the two agencies for up to five years.

About Amendment:

  • The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act and The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act have been amended to give the government the power to keep the two chiefs in their posts for one year after they have completed their two-year terms.
  • And this one-year extension, the amendment says, can continue to be given until the officers complete five years as the chiefs of the agencies.
  • The CBI is governed by The DSPE Act; The CVC Act lays down the term of office of the Director of Enforcement.

 

Background on Extension:

  • Present ED chief was appointed on November 19, 2018. Days before his fixed two-year tenure was to come to an end, the President, on November 13, 2020, modified his previous order and granted him a tenure of three years. 

Supreme Court Observation on Such Practices:

  • the court had declined to interfere with the government’s order, saying that the provision in The CVC Act, 2003 that chiefs of the ED shall hold office for “not less than two years”, could not be read to mean not more than two years.
  • no further extension shall be granted” to ED Chief beyond November 2021.
  • extension of tenure granted to officers who have attained the age of superannuation should be done only in rare and exceptional cases.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Challenges

  • Amending the Acts through Ordinances will not obliterate the judgement of the Supreme Court. The judgement is law under Article 141. 
  • this ordinance is against the crux of Prakash Singh judgment, ‘fixed tenure’ for Police Chief.
  • It will lead to politicization of the institutions.