LS passes bill to extend tenures of CBI, ED chiefs; opposition parties slam government

New Delhi [India]: Opposition parties in Lok Sabha on Thursday slammed the government over the bills to extend the tenures of Directors of CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) up to a maximum of five years saying that the extensions will be given on the “whims and fancies of the political executive” and will undermine the autonomy of the two institutions.
The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2021 were passed with a voice vote by the House after a reply by Minister of State of Department of Personnel and Training Jitendra Singh. Moving the bills for passage in the House, the minister said that if an official or chief of a probe agency is investigating a case, it requires “a certain amount of continuity besides institutional continuity”.
He said the bills only have enabling provision particularly when the FATF has also suggested to different nations to improve their law enforcement authorities.
RSP’s NK Premchandran slammed the government for bringing ordinances for extending tenures of chiefs of CBI and ED.
He said that the ordinances were brought days before the start of the winter session.
The member said that the bill entails extension by a year at a time after completion of two years of the chiefs of the two organisations and it will be done “on the whims and fancies of the political executive of the government”.
“Definitely the political executive will decide, who shall be given extension, and who shall not be given extension,” he said.
Congress MP Manish Tewari said the minister had tried to pass off the bills as “ordinary amendment” but it is not a fixed tenure of five years.
“It is a drip tenure on extension. Secondly, the ripple effect of such a move down the line is going to completely and absolutely undermine the autonomy and the independence of these institutions. I would like to request the government, I would like to request the minister to please take these two bills back. Please restore the position to the status quo ante. Let the Director of CBI and the Director of Enforcement Directorate have a fixed tenure. You want to have a tenure of five years, there is no difficulty with that. You want to have a fixed tenure of three years, there is absolutely no difficulty with that,” he said.
Tewari said the CBI and ED chiefs should be “insulated, autonomous and not at the beck and call of the government, which is the problem with these two bills”.
He also referred to a pending matter in Supreme Court and urged the minister to look into the larger issues about the legality of the CBI.
“One day, it will come back to haunt us collectively. Please file an application in the Supreme Court and please ask them to once for all determine whether the CBI is a legal organisation or the CBI is an illegal organisation,” he said.
Members of several other opposition parties including DMK and TMC also opposed the bills.
The bills provide that the tenure of the Director may be extended by up to one year at a time, till the completion of five years from the initial appointment.

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