The tenures of Directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) can now be extended up to a maximum of five years from the present two years, according to two ordinances brought in by the government on Sunday, November 14. The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance comes barely three days ahead of the retirement of incumbent Enforcement Directorate chief SK Mishra, a 1984-batch IRS officer. The government had given him an extension of one year in 2020 after the completion of his two years fixed term.
The matter was heard by the Supreme Court this year which did not quash the extension but told the government not to give any further extension to Mishra beyond November 17. However, with the promulgation of the ordinance it remains to be seen whether Mishra would continue as the ED chief or not, officials said.
The ordinance promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind that comes into effect "at once" states: â€śProvided that the period for which the Director of Enforcement holds the office on his initial appointment may, in public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee under clause(a) and for the reasons to be recorded in writing, be extended up to one year at a time: Provided further that no such extension shall be granted after the completion of a period of five years in total including the period mentioned in the initial appointment.â€ť
The ED Director is appointed by the Union government on the recommendation of a committee chaired by the Central Vigilance Commissioner and members comprising Vigilance Commissioners, Home Secretary, Secretary DOPT and Revenue Secretary.
The government has also brought in Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 which is also effective "at once". The ordinance inserts the provision in DSPE Act that "Provided that the period for which the Director holds the office on his initial appointment may, in public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee under sub-section (1) of section 4A and for the reasons to be recorded in writing, be extended up to one year at a time: Provided further that no such extension shall be granted after the completion of a period of five years in total including the period mentioned in the initial appointment.â€ť
The Director of CBI is selected on the basis of the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief of Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition. The fixed term of two years was aimed at ensuring the chiefs of CBI and ED work free from government interference without worrying about any adverse action for the probes carried out by them.