The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre on pleas challenging the government order extending the tenure of Enforcement Directorate chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra, Live Law reported on Tuesday.
A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli was hearing eight pleas filed by leaders of the Congress and the Trinamool Congress – Jaya Thakur, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Saket Gokhale and Mahua Moitra, Bar and Bench reported.
Other petitioners include Manoharlal Sharma, Krishna Chander Singh and Vineet Narain. They have challenged the extension of Mishra’s tenure by one year.
The petitioners contended that the Centre’s decision violated the Supreme Court’s verdict in September.
The Supreme Court had held that no further extension shall be granted to Mishra beyond November. However, just a day before his retirement date in November, the Centre extended his tenure by a year.
The decision came three days after the government introduced two Ordinances which allowed to extend the tenures of the directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to up to five years.
This was the second term extension for Mishra. In 2020, his tenure was extended for 12 months after he had completed his two-year term. The petitioners alleged that the ordinances were introduced to avoid the scrutiny of the Parliament.
On Tuesday, petitioner Manoharlal Sharma challenged the government’s ordinance, Live Law reported.
“The Bill which was moved in the Parliament was not passed in the House,” he argued. “It was not even presented before the House within six months and thus this amendment should go.”
Senior Advocate AM Singhvi, representing Congress leader Surjewala, said that the amendment allows the Centre to give yearly extensions to Mishra for up to five years.
“I request your lordships to hear the matter within a short period notice,” Singhvi said.
Senior Advocate Sanjay Ghose, appearing for TMC leader Gokhale, said that the Enforcement Directorate chief also failed to upload his immovable property returns from 2017 to 2020.
“The vigilance rules and the official memorandum states that clearance with respect to top post won’t be granted if the returns aren’t uploaded,” Ghose submitted. “The appointment [of Mishra] is illegal on this ground also.”
The matter will next be heard after 10 days.