Director Of Enforcement Can Be Appointed For A Period Of More Than Two Years: Supreme Court

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Director Of Enforcement Can Be Appointed For A Period Of More Than Two Years

Case: Common Cause (A Registered Society) v. Union of India

Coram: Justice L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai

Case No: WP(C) 1374 of 2020

Court Observation: “Prescription of a minimum period of two years is to ensure that the Director of Enforcement is not transferred or shifted from the said post during the course of investigation of serious offenses. There is no ambiguity in Section 25 (d) of the CVC Act and the words ‘not less than two years’ simply mean a minimum of two years. There is no scope for reading the words to mean not more than two years. Reading such a restriction would be contrary to the recommendations of the Independent Review Committee and the judgment of this Court in Vineet Narain. Curtailment of the tenure of a Director Enforcement would be detrimental to the interests of officers who are appointed to the post and have service of more than two years before they attain the age of superannuation. Therefore, we hold that a Director of Enforcement can be appointed for a period of more than two years by following the procedure prescribed under Section 25 of the CVC Act”

“For all practical purposes, he should be treated as the Director of Enforcement till that particular date he was holding an office which is not below the rank of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India. Therefore, he was eligible for an extension of tenure”

“Though we have upheld the power of the Union of India to extend the tenure of Director of Enforcement beyond the period of two years, we should make it clear that extension of tenure granted to officers who have attained the age of superannuation should be done only in rare and exceptional cases. A reasonable period of extension can be granted to facilitate the completion of ongoing investigations only after reasons are recorded by the Committee constituted under Section 25 (a) of the Act. Any extension of tenure granted to persons holding the post of Director of Enforcement after attaining the age of superannuation should be for a short period. We do not intend to interfere with the extension of tenure of the second Respondent in the instant case for the reason that his tenure is coming to an end in November 2021. We make it clear that no further extension shall be granted to the second Respondent.”

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