President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday promulgated two ordinances that would allow the Centre to extend the tenures of the directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate from two years to up to five years.
The chiefs of the Central agencies currently have a fixed two-year tenure, but can now be given three annual extensions.
While the change in tenure of the CBI Director was effected by amending the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the changes to the tenure of the ED Director was brought in by amending the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.
The move comes just days before the present ED chief, Sanjay Kumar Mishra , was to retire on November 17.
“Provided that the period for which the Director of Enforcement holds the office on his initial appointment may, in the public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee under clause(a) and for the reason to be recorded in writing, be extended up to one year at a time,” the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 read.
“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,” it further stated.
Not surprisingly, the move has riled the Opposition as the ordinances were brought in barely two weeks before the winter session of Parliament gets under way from November 29. “It is expectedly brazen. Why did they have to resort to an ordinance when Parliament session has been announced from November 29,” Congress Chief Whip in the Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh told The Hindu .
Stating that the Narendra Modi government has brought in 3.7 ordinances for every 10 Bills in the 17th Lok Sabha, Trinamool Congress leader in Parliament Derek O’Brien tweeted, “How Modi-Shah’s BJP mock #Parliament and shamelessly use Ordinances. Same stunt repeated today to keep their pet parrots in ED and CBI.”
“Parliament session begins on 29th. To avoid its scrutiny, Centre on Sunday promulgates ordinances to extend the tenure of Directors of CBI and ED. This desperate hurry smacks of something fishy,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted.
“It is a clear case of making Parliament redundant and subverting democracy,” CPI general secretary D. Raja said.