SC extends ED Director Sanjay Mishra's tenure till Sept 15, cites FATF peer review
The Supreme Court has granted an extension of tenure to Enforcement Directorate chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra until September 15. However, the court has noted that there will be no additional extension beyond this date.
The Centre was seeking an extension in Mishra’s tenure till October 15.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai, Vikram Nath and Sanjay Karol said it was granting the extension in “larger public and national interest” but that Mishra will cease to remain ED chief from the midnight of September 15.
During the hearing, the top court questioned the Centre for seeking an extension and asked if the entire department is “full of incompetent people” except the incumbent chief.
“Are we not giving a picture that there is no other person and the entire department is full of incompetent people?” the bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre.
The top law officer argued that the continuity of the ED leadership is necessary in view of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) peer review whose rating matters.
Mehta said Mishra is “not indispensable” but his presence is necessary for the entire peer review exercise.
Representing the ED, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju said, “Some neighbouring countries want India to fall into FATF’s grey list and therefore, the ED chief’s continuity is necessary”.
The bench was hearing the Centre’s application seeking the continuance of Mishra’s tenure till October 15.
The top court had on July 11 held as “illegal” two successive one-year extensions granted to Mishra and said the Centre’s orders were in the “breach” of its mandamus in the 2021 verdict that the IRS officer should not be given further term.
It had also curtailed Mishra’s extended tenure to July 31 from November.
(With agency inputs)