November 30, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Appointments of CBI & ED chiefs: All you need to know

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Appointments of CBI & ED chiefs: All you need to know
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Appointments of CBI & ED chiefs: All you need to know
Appointments of CBI & ED chiefs: All you need to know

NEW DELHI: The Centre has taken the ordinance route to extend tenures of the directors of CBI and ED – the country’s premier investigating agencies.
The move has drawn flak from the opposition who called it politically motivated to serve the ruling party. It has also put the focus back on previous instances of appointments to these sensitive posts, some of which ended up in the Supreme Court.
Here’s a look at the procedures of appointments and some past controversies involving these high-profile appointments.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
* The CBI in its current avatar came into being in April 1963 through a home ministry resolution, and is governed by the 1946 Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
* It is now under the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions
* It is exempted from the Right to Information Act
Appointment of the CBI director
* The CBI director is appointed according to provisions under the the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (1946) and amendments therein brought by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013
* The appointment is done by the Centre on recommendation by a three-member Appointment Committee
* The appointment committee comprises the Prime Minister as the chairperson, the leader of opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India, or a Supreme Court judge nominated by him
* If there is no recognised LoP, then the leader of the single largest party is included in the committee
* The Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 fixed the tenure of the CBI director at 2 years
When matters landed in Supreme Court
* The apex court in a 2019 order mandated that no officer with less than six months’ tenure remaining can be considered for the post of CBI chief
* The court also ruled that the director is to remain in office for ‘not less than 2 years,’ and can be transferred only with the consent of the appointing committee
The Enforcement Directorate (ED)
* The ED comes under the department of revenue of the finance ministry
* It is responsible for fighting economic crimes and enforcement of FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999) and PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002)
* It is composed of IAS, IPS and IRS officers, and also officers promoted from ED’s own cadre
Appointment of ED director
* The ED director is appointed as per provisions of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003
* The Centre appoints the director on recommendation of a committee, with the Central Vigilance Commissioner as chairperson
* Other committee members are secretaries in the Finance (Revenue), Home and Personnel & Training ministries
* The tenure should be “not less than two years,” and any transfer has to be sanctioned by the appointing committee
When matters landed in Supreme Court
* When incumbent ED director SK Mishra was given a one-year extension in Nov 2020, an NGO moved the Supreme Court against the decision
* The court noted that “not less than two years” cannot be interpreted as “not more than two years,” and upheld the extension
* However it also clarified that made no further extension shall be granted to Mishra, and his tenure should end in November 2021
The ordinances promulgated on Nov 14, 2021 paves the way for an incumbent director of CBI or ED to get three extensions of one year each, after his/her two year term ends. Any such extension will have to be recommended by a committee, recording in writing why it would be in “national interest.”
The timing, and why opposition is crying foul
The ordinances have been promulgated just ahead of the winter session of Parliament due later this month.
Congress’ Manish Tewari questioned the mechanism, calling it “ordinance route to subvert the lawmaking function of Parliament.”
“Ordinance Raj, the favourite route of the Modi govt, bypasses parliamentary scrutiny 14 days before parliament meets. Extensions per se frowned upon by apex Court,” tweeted another Congressman Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
The party also said that public servants in key positions are being rewarded with extensions for their subservience to the ruling party and “hounding” the opposition.

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