ED, CBI chiefs’ Tenure Extension

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    • Recently, the Supreme Court sought response from the Centre and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in 10 days on a batch of petitions challenging the extension of tenure of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) director and the amended law allowing such extensions up to five years.

    About the recent controversy 

    • Current tenure: The chiefs of the Central agencies currently have fixed two-year tenure, but can now be given three annual extensions.
    • Amendments: While the change in tenure of the CBI Director was affected by amending the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the change to the tenure of the ED Director was brought in by amending the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.
      • It 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.

    Criticism

    • Brought through ordinance: The move has riled the Opposition as the ordinances were brought in barely two weeks before the winter session of Parliament gets underway.
    • 17th Lok Sabha: The BJP government has brought in 3.7 ordinances for every 10 Bills in the 17th Lok Sabha.
    • Pet parrots in ED and CBI: Some criticized that the same stunts are repeated to keep their pet parrots in ED and CBI.
    • Vineet Narayan and the Common Cause cases judgement: plea has challenged the amendment made by the central government to the fundamental concept decided by the apex court in two judgements in the Vineet Narayan and the Common Cause cases which were on fixed tenure.

    Central Bureau of Investigation

    • It is the main investigation agency of the central government for cases relating to corruption and major criminal probes.
    • It has its origin in the Special Police Establishment set up in 1941 to probe bribery and corruption during World War II.
    • CBI was set up by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1963 after the Santhanam committee recommendation.
    • The superintendence of CBI rests with CVC in corruption cases and with the Department of personnel and training in other matters.
    • Presently it acts as an attached office under DOPT.
    • Although DSPE Act gives legal power to CBI, CBI is not a statutory body as:
      • Word ‘CBI’ is not mentioned in the DSPE act.
      • The executive order of MHA did not mention CBI to be constituted under DSPE Act.
    • Functions of CBI include solving:
      • Corruption Cases
      • Economic Crimes like financial frauds, narcotics, antiques, smuggling etc.
      • Special Crimes like Terrorism, ransom for kidnapping etc

    Enforcement Directorate

    • The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
    • It is part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
    • It is composed of officers from the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Police Service and the Indian Administrative Service as well as promoted officers from its own cadre.
    • The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1 May 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed, in the Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947.
    • The prime objective of the Enforcement Directorate is the enforcement of two key Acts of the Government of India namely, the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA)
    • The Directorate of Enforcement, with its headquarters at New Delhi, is headed by the Director of Enforcement. There are five regional offices at Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Delhi headed by Special Directors of Enforcement.

    Source: IE