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Parliament’s Winter Session to See Bills for Extending Tenure of ED, CBI Directors up to 5 Years

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Weeks after the Union government brought in two ordinances to ensure that the Directors of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could have tenures of up to five years, it is all set to amend the respective Acts in the upcoming Winter session of Parliament.

According to the Lok Sabha Bulletin released on Tuesday, the government will move motions to introduce, consider and pass the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2021. Earlier this month, the Centre brought in two ordinances to amend the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, 2003 and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946.

While the CVC Act deals with the appointment and tenure of the ED Director, the DSPE Act is responsible for the appointment and tenure of the CBI Director. The two ordinances were signed by President Ram Nath Kovind and published in the Gazette notification on November 14.

So far, both posts had a fixed tenure of two years. According to the ordinances, the tenure of the directors of the CBI and the ED can now be extended by up to three years after the mandated term of two years.

The tenure of the CBI directors was not fixed until 1997. The government had the power to remove them in any manner. It was the Supreme Court verdict in the Vineet Narain case that ensured that the CBI director will have a fixed tenure of a minimum of two years to allow the officer to work with independence.

“The Director, CBI shall have a minimum tenure of two years, regardless of the date of his superannuation. This would ensure that an officer suitable in all respects is not ignored merely because he has less than two years to superannuate from the date of his appointment… The Director, Enforcement Director like Director, CBI shall have a minimum tenure of two years. In his case also, premature transfer for any extraordinary reason should be approved by the aforesaid Selection Committee headed by the Central Vigilance commissioner,” the judgement issued on December 18, 1997 reads.

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