Published on: June 16, 2022 at 16:15 IST
In the midst of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioning of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald Case, a Mahila Congress leader has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the extension of tenure granted to ED director Sanjay Kumar Mishra, alleging violation of its order. She also accused the Centre of misusing its authority and harassing political opponents.
Referring to the Apex Court’s order from September last year, Petitioner Jaya Thakur stated that the Supreme Court had specifically directed that no further extensions be granted to the ED chief after November 2021, but that the order was not complied and Mishra’s tenure was extended in violation of its order.
The Petitioner, the General Secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee, said that the Centre was destroying democracy by misusing the agency against political opponents. She stated that a probe into the National Herald case has been ongoing for the past ten years and that no FIR have been filed.
The Apex Court upheld the Centre’s power to extend the tenure of the director of the ED beyond two years last year, but made it clear that extensions to officers who have reached the age of superannuation should be done only in rare and exceptional cases.
In a relief to the ED Director, whose one-year extension beyond retirement age was challenged, the Court refused to overturn the government’s decision to extend his term, which was set to expire in November, but ordered that no further extensions be allowed to him.
The Bench stated, “Though we have upheld the power of the Union of India to extend the tenure of Director of Enforcement beyond the period of two years, we should make it clear that extension of tenure granted to officers who have attained the age of superannuation should be done only in rare and exceptional cases.”
In November 2018, Mishra, an Indian Revenue Service officer, was appointed ED director for a two-year term. The appointment was modified “retrospectively” by the Centre in November 2020, and his two-year term was extended to three years.