Lok Sabha passes Bills extending tenure of CBI, ED Directors

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed, by voice vote, the Bills extending the service tenure of Directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.

The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Act, 2021 and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2021, seek to amend the present laws to give one year extension of the heads of both agencies, up to five years.

Responding to the long debate, Minister for Personnel and Training, Jitendra Singh said that there was a detailed discussion on these Bills.

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Citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high esteem for the CBI and the ED, he said that these should work independently and in tandem.

Explaining the process of giving extension of one year each to the CBI Director, the Minister said that the same constitutional body consisting of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition/largest party in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India will take a decision on this.

“We have fixed the tenure of these posts as it was not prescribed in the past. Even during the previous governments, extensions were given for many times. Through this Bill, we have put a cap of five years,” he added.

Responding to questions why the Ordinances were promulgated just two weeks ahead of the Winter Session, he said that with the experience of the last session in which was washed out because of Opposition’s protests, the government was not sure whether the session would be working or not.

Earlier, initiating the discussion on the Bills, RSP member N.K. Premchandran said the Supreme Court has reiterated time and again that the government should avoid giving extension to the officials. The apex court also has made it clear the law making power lies with the Parliament, not with the President or Governor, he added.

Congress member Manish Tewari appealed to the government to approach the SC and ensure that the legality of the CBI is adjudicated.

BJP’s Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that the long-term effects of the Bills are good, and urged the Opposition to support them.

Opposing the Bill, NCP’s Supriya Sule said: “All your (BJP’s) allies have cases against them. When they were your allies, there were no cases against them but the minute they left you, all the cases started. They have had raids, their colleagues have raids. Please stop this vindictive business.”

She also said that the Enforcement Directorate raided the residence of former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh seven times and asked what was missed in the first six times. She also alleged that the agencies were questioning the family members of those involved in the case and questioned the reason behind it.

BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab questioned the move to bring an amendment bill regarding the tenures of the CBI and ED Directors, while Trinamool Congress’ Sougata Ray said that the present ED Director was to retire on November 17 and just three days before his retirement, the government brought the ordinance.

“The ED and CBI have been accused of catering to the political masters,” he said.

AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi, while opposing the bill, said that fixed tenure cannot be on the whims and desires of the government and if the extension is given on good behaviour, it creates an inbuilt mechanism of control. Both the directors (CBI and ED) must be subordinate to the present government, he said.

CPI-M’s A. Arif, BSP’s Ritesh Pandey, Trinamool’s Kalyan Banerjee and Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Raut also spoke against the bills.

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