The Congress on Monday opposed the two ordinances brought in by the Narendra Modi government extending the tenure of the directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate from two years to upto five years.
Congress leader Manish Tewari claimed that the ordinances was a message to officers that if they keep “harassing the Opposition”, their tenure will be increased, reported ANI. “All parties should approach SC [Supreme Court] jointly on it,” he said.
He added: “This ordinance is illegal, it contradicts Supreme Court’s 1998 Jain Havala case verdict in which it announced CBI, ED director’s tenure as two years so that the government at Centre didn’t force the two agencies into any wrongdoing.”
The notifications issued by the Union law ministry on Sunday had said that the tenure can be extended by one year at a time after the first two-year period has been completed.
The ordinances came three days ahead of current Enforcement Directorate chief SK Mishra’s retirement. Last year, the Centre had extended his tenure by one year after the completion of his two-year term.
The extension of Mishra’s tenure was challenged in the Supreme Court but the bench had upheld it. However, the court had held that “no further extension shall be granted to” him beyond November when his tenure was going to end.
In the past, Opposition parties have criticised the Centre for misusing central agencies to target their leaders.
On Monday, Congress spokesperson and senior Supreme Court advocate Abhishek Singhvi said the two ordinances instead of ensuring independence of tenure, “just do the opposite”, reported The Hindu.
“The crucial word in this ordinance, is the word extension,” he said. “The attempt is to substitute servility and subordination to political masters in place of independence. It is to substitute subjectivity in place of objectivity.”
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan termed the extension “shocking and malafide”. He said that it was an attempt to subvert the independence of the central agencies.
On Sunday, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had said that the ordinances were promulgated to avoid the scrutiny of Parliament, which is scheduled to begin its Winter Session from November 29.
“This desperate hurry smacks of something fishy,” he had tweeted.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien had said that the Bharatiya Janata Party mocks the Parliament by brining in ordinances.
“Same stunt repeated today [November 14] to keep their pet parrots in ED and CBI,” he had tweeted.