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Tenure extension system: SC asks ED chief to quit

Context: The SC asked the ED Director to quit (4 months before his third extension ends) even as it....Tenure extension system: SC asks ED chief to quit...

Context: The SC asked the ED Director to resign before the end of his third extension while upholding tenure extension amendments.

Enforcement Directorate (ED)
  • About
    • The Enforcement Directorate was established in the year 1956 as an ‘Enforcement Unit’ under the Department of Economic Affairs.
    • Later, in 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’.
  • Administrative control
    • Presently, it is under the administrative control of the Department of Revenue (under the Ministry of Finance) for operational purposes.
  • Functions
    • ED is responsible for enforcement of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), and certain provisions under the PMLA.
    • ED has the power to attach the asset of the culprits found guilty of the violation of FEMA.
    • It has also been empowered to undertake activities such as search, seizure, arrest, and survey against offenses committed under PMLA.
  • Appointment of Director of ED
    • The ED Director is appointed by the central government on the recommendation of a committee:
      • chaired by the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and
      • members comprising of Vigilance Commissioners, Home Secretary, Secretary DOPT and Revenue Secretary.
Amendments and Tenure Extensions
  • Tenure of CBI and ED chiefs: The CBI and ED directors traditionally have fixed tenures of two years.
  • Amendments enacted in 2021: The Central Vigilance Commission Act, the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, and the Fundamental Rules underwent amendments.The amendments enable directors to extend their tenure beyond the two-year limit by receiving up to three annual extensions.
  • Overcoming the court’s directive: The amendments were introduced shortly after the Supreme Court directed the government to cease granting extensions to Sanjay Kumar Mishra. These amendments provided a way for the government to grant Mishra two additional extensions.
What is the amendment about?
  • The fifth provison of Clause (d) of Rule 56 of the Fundamental Rules, 1922 was amended to extend the services of the Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, Director of IB, Secretary of RAW, the Director of CBI and ED in “public interest”.
  • The earlier list comprised Defense Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Director of Intelligence Bureau, and Secretary of Research and Analysis Wing.
  • The new notification includes the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, which appoints the head of the investigation agency.
What was the ruling of the Supreme Court?
  • On ED Tenure extension: The Supreme Court deemed Mishra’s consecutive service extensions in 2021 and 2022 as illegal. The court mandated the current ED Chief to resign by July 31 for a smooth transition to the successor.
  • On amendments to the CVC and DSPE Act: The Supreme Court upheld as constitutional the amendments made to the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 and The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
  • The court emphasized the importance of self-imposed limits in judicial review of legislative or executive actions.
  • It said that the legislative enactment can be struck down only on two grounds: 
    • 1) Firstly, that the appropriate legislature does not have the competence to make the law and 
    • 2) It does not violate or limit any Fundamental Rights or constitutional provisions.
Constitutionality of Amendments
  • Legislative authority: The court emphasized that Parliament enacted the amendments and stated that they should not be easily declared unconstitutional.
  • Role of elected representatives: The court emphasized Parliament’s enacted amendments, cautioning against easily declaring them unconstitutional.
  • Judicial restraint: The court recognized the need for judicial restraint, only intervening when there is a clear constitutional violation.
FAQs Related with Tenure extension system
Ques 1: What is a tenure extension system?

Answer: Tenure extension system extends an individual’s term beyond the specified timeframe.

Ques 2: Why are tenure extensions granted?

Answer: Tenure extensions granted for continuity, project completion, and exceptional performance or circumstances.

Ques 3: What are the implications of a tenure extension system?

Answer: The implications of a tenure extension system can vary.Tenure extensions provide stability and expertise but limit new talent and raise concerns about accountability and abuse.

Tenure extension system: SC asks ED chief to quit,Tenure extension system: SC asks ED chief to quit,Tenure extension system: SC asks ED chief to quit

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