SC allows Centre’s request to defer hearing on ED chief’s case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SC allows Centre’s request to defer hearing on ED chief’s case

ByAbraham Thomas
Apr 21, 2023 02:25 PM IST

The Supreme Court eventually allowed the Centre’s request and asked Tushar Mehta to make suitable arrangements for the next date. “Do not put us in a difficult situation on May 3.”

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned a clutch of petitions challenging the extension granted to Enforcement Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra till May 3 on a request of solicitor general Tushar Mehta. A bench of justices BR Gavai, Vikram Nath and Sanjay Karol, which had set apart Thursday for hearing arguments of Centre, completed hearing the petitioners and the amicus curiae senior advocate KV Vishwanathan on March 23.

The Supreme Court reminded solicitor general Tushar Mehta that it made it clear the last time that no further adjournments would be granted (HT File Photo)
The Supreme Court reminded solicitor general Tushar Mehta that it made it clear the last time that no further adjournments would be granted (HT File Photo)

As soon as the case was taken up, Mehta sought an adjournment till May 3. The bench told Mehta that the court had specifically said that no adjournment will be granted. The court eventually allowed the Centre’s request and asked Mehta to make suitable arrangements for the next date. “Do not put us in a difficult situation on May 3.”

The court was hearing petitions that questioned the three extensions given to Mishra and said that they were bad in law and contrary to a Supreme Court order of September 2021. They said Mishra should not get any extension beyond November 2021.

Mishra, an Indian Revenue Service officer of the 1984 batch was initially appointed as ED director for a two-year tenure ending November 2020. Before his tenure came to an end, he was granted a one-year extension which was challenged in the Supreme Court by an NGO, Common Cause. By a judgment in September 2021, the court allowed the extension noticing that the tenure was coming to an end in about two months. However, the judgment was clear that no further extension was to be granted to Mishra.

On November 15, 2021 Centre brought amendments to the Central Vigilance Commission Act and the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act governing the appointment of heads of ED and CBI that allowed the government to extend tenure of CBI, ED chiefs for a period of three years beyond their two-year tenure by granting extensions of one-year each. These amendments were challenged in a clutch of petitions before the Supreme Court, filed by Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala, Jaya Thakur, and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, among others.

Under the challenged amendment, Mishra got an extension from November 2021 to November 2022. Last November, his tenure was further extended by a notification till November 2023.

On the earlier occasion, amicus curiae Vishwanathan argued against piecemeal extensions by the government, reasoning that these will damage the independence and integrity of the investigating agencies and cause frustration among the eligible officials in the cadre.

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