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ED Director case: Lawyer insists on being lead petitioner, SC adjourns hearing

An apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana on Monday, witnessed an unusual scenario in the courtroom, as a lawyer insisted that his case should become the lead petition among a batch of petitions challenging the extension given to present Enforcement Directorate chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra.

IANS | New Delhi |

An apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana on Monday, witnessed an unusual scenario in the courtroom, as a lawyer insisted that his case should become the lead petition among a batch of petitions challenging the extension given to present Enforcement Directorate chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra.

When the matters were called for hearing before the bench, also comprising justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, advocate M.L. Sharma took objection to a petition filed by Jaya Thakur being listed as the petition in the matter. Sharma, whose petition was listed as the last item in the batch of petitions, said he was the first one to file the petition in the matter.

Sharma said: “I have the right to be the first petitioner. I filed the petition last year.” The bench said Thakur’s plea was listed as the lead petition since it was mentioned for urgent listing. “Whether your case is down or up, we are hearing you,” the bench told Sharma.

Counsel representing another petitioner submitted that pleas should not have names of the parties as it becomes a competition to become the first person to file the petition. Counsel also expressed his disappointment at the matter getting adjourned to tomorrow, over the issue raised by Sharma. “This is how the main issue gets derailed,” counsel said. The bench said, “What to do?”

The bench scheduled the matter for hearing on Tuesday and asked the registry to verify the correct order of the filing of the petitions.

The petitioners included Congress leaders Jaya Thakur, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and party spokesperson Saket Gokhale, and Sharma.

The petitions have challenged the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Act 2021, which allows the extension of the term of the Director of the Enforcement of Directorate up to 5 years and Centre’s decision to extend Mishra’s tenure.