Centre tweaks rules to cement ED, CBI chiefs’ extended tenure

Under the newly promulgated ordinances, CBI and ED chiefs are eligible for a maximum of five-year total tenures, and the changes to the FR take that into account.
The directors of CBI and ED have a normal fixed tenure of two years each.(HT File)
The directors of CBI and ED have a normal fixed tenure of two years each.(HT File)
Updated on Nov 16, 2021 12:57 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Union government on Monday amended its Fundamental Rules (FR) to bring them in line with two ordinances promulgated on Sunday to give the chiefs of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) extended terms of up to five years.

The overarching set of rules listed in the government’s FR apply to all civilian officers, and cover the entire gamut of their in-service and post-retirement work scenarios, making it possible for the government to ensure continuity over much of its remaining term.

According to the notification issued on Monday, the rules now allow the central government to give extension in “public interest” to the defence secretary, home secretary, director of Intelligence Bureau (IB), Secretary of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and directors of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED), on a case-to-case basis, subject to the condition that the total term of such secretaries or directors does not exceed two years or the period provided in the respective act or rules made thereunder, under which their appointments are made”.

To be sure, the existing FR already provided for a maximum two-year extension to the home, foreign and defence secretaries, and the CBI, R&AW and IB chiefs.

Under the newly promulgated ordinances, CBI and ED chiefs are eligible for a maximum of five-year total tenures, and the changes to the FR take that into account.

The notification issued on Monday, however, excluded the post of foreign secretary from the ambit of the exceptions to the superannuation rules, which otherwise say that all officers must retire at the age of 60. It was not clear at the time of going to print why this change was effected.

The post of foreign secretary was included in the Fundamental Rules following a proposal cleared by the Union Cabinet in December 2010 “in view of the assignment of Foreign Secretary having increasingly acquired critical dimensions from the national security and strategic perspective, and the need to ensure continuity and swiftness in the decision-making process”.

Opposition parties on Monday raised objections over the government taking ordinance route to extend the tenures of CBI and ED directors, and then notifying the changes, just 15 days ahead of a Parliament session.

Abhishek Singhvi, senior Congress MP and legal expert, dubbed the move “illegal” and a bid to keep the sleuths on a leash.

“Keeping you on a leash, watching you and giving you incremental, partial, piecemeal extensions, because that allows me to be a control freak over you, that allows me to control, because I will say, next time please watch out, your provision in coming again after one year. You better behave into everything I tell you because then only you will get an extension,” Singhvi said, questioning the ordinance push ahead of the winter session.

CPIM general secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded scrapping of the two ordinances.

“Promulgation of 2 ordinances extending term of ED & CBI directors to 5 years on the eve of winter session of parliament is reprehensible. It’s against SC directions. CBI & ED are made to function as political arm of BJP. Rescind these ordinances,” said Yechury.

There was no response from ministry of home affairs and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on the issue.

The Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 promulgated on Sunday, said the tenure of the CBI director can be extended up to one year at a time, provided “that no such extension shall be granted after the completion of a period of five years in total including the period mentioned in the initial appointment”.

According to the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, which also came into effect on Sunday, the tenure of ED chief can be extended up to one year at a time “provided further that no such extension shall be granted after the completion of a period of five years in total including the period mentioned in the initial appointment”.

The directors of CBI and ED have a normal fixed tenure of two years each.

The tenure of ED chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra is due to end on Wednesday, and CBI chief Subodh Kumar Jaiswal’s tenure ends in May 2023.

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Monday, May 23, 2022