The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Centre’s decision to extend the tenure of Enforcement Directorate (ED) Director S.K. Mishra till November 2021, despite having reached the retirement age in May last year. However, the top court made it clear that no further extension can be granted to him.
A bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao emphasised that though the Centre has the power for extension of tenure, it should be only done in exceptional cases. “No further extension should be granted. Petition is dismissed”, said the top court.
The top court judgment came on a PIL by NGO Common Cause challenging the extension of the tenure of Enforcement Directorate Director.
The NGO’s plea contended that the Centre has employed a circuitous route in order to ensure that Mishra gets one more year as the ED director by way of retrospectively modifying the appointment order dated November 18, 2018, itself. The NGO has made three respondents in its plea: Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance; present ED directors; and Central Vigilance Commission.
The plea filed by the NGO had sought direction for quashing of November 13, 2020, order along with a direction to the Centre to appoint ED director in a transparent manner and strictly in accordance with the mandate of Section 25 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.
“The said two-year tenure came to an end on 19.11.2020. Pertinently, the Respondent No. 2 (Mishra) has already reached the retirement age of 60 years in May 2020”, said the plea.