Surjewala also alleged that the ad-hoc and episodic fashion in which the extension of tenure will be granted reaffirms the control of the government over investigative agencies.
Congress General Secretary Randeep Surjewala has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the central government’s ordinances extending the tenures of Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chiefs from two to up to five years. Surjewala moved the SC days after the central government issued the ordinance. Alleging clear abuse of power by the authorities, Surjewala sought an interim relief, saying that the ordinances violate the court orders issued in the past to ensure the independence of such institutions.
Surjewala has challenged the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, of November 14 as well as the Personnel Ministry’s November 15 Gazette notification amending the fundamental rules which enable the government to extend the tenures of ED, CBI chiefs, as also of the defence, home and foreign secretaries.
The Congress general secretary claimed that the ordinances empower the central government to provide ‘piecemeal extensions’ of one year each to the tenures of the directors of ED and CBI. “There are no criteria provided save for a vague reference to the public interest and is in fact, based on the subjective satisfaction of the respondents. This has the direct and clear impact of eroding the independence of the investigative bodies in question,” Surjewala’s petition reads, reported PTI.
Surjewala also alleged that the ad-hoc and episodic fashion in which the extension of tenure will be granted reaffirms the control of the government over investigative agencies. He said that the move is” directly antithetical to their independent functioning”.
It may be recalled that the CBI and ED directors had a fixed tenure of two years each. Surjewala said that with the new ordinances, they can be given an extension each year as long as the cumulative extension is not beyond five years from the initial date of appointment.
Before Surjewala’s petition, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court on November 16 challenging the Constitutional validity of the two ordinances. The issue is set to rock the winter session of Parliament as well.