Government brings bills to extend tenures of ED, CBI chiefs

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ed, cbi, ED Directors, trinamool congress, ED chiefs

The government on Friday introduced two bills in the Lok Sabha to extend the tenures of directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to up to five years amid opposition protests.

The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, once enacted, will replace two recent ordinances that allowed the tenures of CBI and ED directors to be extended beyond two years annually to a maximum of five years.

While opposition members opposed the introduction of the bills saying they went against the spirit of a related Supreme Court order and alleged that the move was aimed at tightening executive controls on the two premier investigating agencies, minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh argued the move was part of streamlining the functional hierarchy in the agencies and that the said SC order was only about fixing minimum tenures and not the maximum term of CBI and ED chiefs.

The bills will be taken up for consideration next week.

Those opposed the introduction of the bills in the Lower House included Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Kodikunnil Suresh, Shashi Tharoor and Gaurav Gogoi of Congress, Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress, and NK Premachandran of RSP. Their objections were broadly on the same grounds.

Almost all these members alleged motive behind the government taking the ordinance route to bring the law just before the commencement of a Parliament session.

They said it was a plot to extend the tenure of ED director Sanjay Kumar Mishra whose tenure was to end last month. By having say on their tenure, the government is trying to keep the agencies’ chiefs under tighter executive control, they alleged, adding it violated the SC order that fixed two-year tenures for these posts.

Rejecting the charges, minister Jitendra Singh argued that the earlier laws emphasised the minimum tenures of CBI and ED chiefs and were not about their maximum term. “If you read the CVC Act, it clearly says the director of enforcement will hold office for ‘not less than two years. It has never laid the period of two years,” he argued.

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