New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court on Tuesday held the extension of tenure of Enforcement Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra as illegal.
The apex court said that he will continue to serve the post till July 31. The apex court has stated that Mishra will continue to serve as ED director till July 31.
Earlier this May, the SC reserved its order on the various petitions challenging the extension of the tenure of the ED Director.
After hearing submissions by all sides, a bench of Justices BR Gavai, Vikram Nath and Sanjay Karol reserved the order.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre, apprised the Court that Mishra is not the Director General of Police but he represents the country internationally and hence parliament has taken a conscious call. Mehta also apprised the court that SK Mishra will retire in November.
Amicus Curiae KV Viswanathan urged the top court to strike down the amendment in the larger interest of democracy expressing fear that it will be misused by future governments.
In the last hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta defended the government’s decision to extend the tenure of the ED Director and said that the money laundering offence has trans-border implications.
He had said that extension was for administrative reasons as it was vital for the country’s evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The court was hearing petitions challenging the Centre’s decision on November 17, 2022 whereby the government extended the third tenure of ED director SK Mishra.
In an earlier hearing, Amicus Curiae Vishwanathan had raised an objection to the extension of the tenure of the ED director and submitted before the apex court that the Committee failed to consider the availability and suitability of other officers before taking a decision on the extension of tenure of ED director.
Amicus said that the office order dated November 17, 2021 did not satisfy the touchstone of ‘public interest’ and hence it might be set aside.
On the other hand, the Centre in its affidavit had defended its decision to extend the tenure of the ED director. It said that the petition challenging it is motivated and urged the top court to dismiss the plea.
The central government submission came on an affidavit which was filed countering the submission of the petition challenging the extension of the ED director.
Centre had informed the SC that the petition was clearly motivated by an oblique personal interest rather than any public interest litigations.
The Centre had also said that the petition is a misuse of Article 32 of the Constitution, which is clearly being filed in a representative capacity for and on behalf of the president and the office bearers of the Indian National Congress, who are being investigated by ED and are otherwise fully competent to approach respective courts for appropriate statutory relief and remedy under the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Centre had said the petition had been filed for espousing the cause of her political masters when there is nothing barring the concerned persons who are under investigation from approaching the competent court for any appropriate relief.