Supreme Court allows Sanjay Kumar Mishra to continue as ED chief till September 15

The Supreme Court earlier this month termed the third extension of service granted to ED chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra “illegal”. (ANI)
The Supreme Court earlier this month termed the third extension of service granted to ED chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra “illegal”. (ANI)

In a relief to the Union government, the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Enforcement Directorate (ED) chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra to continue till September 15 in “larger public interest”. The apex court pronounced the verdict on the Centre’s plea to extend Mishra’s tenure till October 15, instead of the court-mandated deadline of July 31. However, the court clarified that there won’t be any further extension, and Mishra will cease to occupy the post from midnight of September 15-16.

Government argues for Mishra’s continuation for positive FATF review

The government argued that Mishra’s continuation was “essential” for a positive review by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that will grade India on its laws being compliant with the international protocols on tackling money laundering and financial terrorism.

Justice Gavai questions government’s reliance on Mishra

During the hearing, Justice BR Gavai asked the government whether it was not giving the picture that “your entire department is incompetent? That you cannot function without one person?”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta responded by stating that no one is indispensable, but the continuity would help the country during the FATF review.

Government lawyers claim reputation damage and negative impact on country’s image

The lawyers representing the government submitted that Mishra’s removal as ED director “will lead to reputation damage” and “will negatively affect the country’s image”.

Supreme Court had earlier termed extension orders “illegal”

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court quashed the government’s decision to grant two extensions of tenure to ED director Mishra in 2021 and 2022, terming them “illegal”. The court gave him time till July 31 to relinquish office. The extension of Mishra was challenged by a bundle of petitions, including those by Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala, Jaya Thakur, and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.

★The Supreme Court allows Sanjay Kumar Mishra to continue as ED chief till September 15.
★The government argued for Mishra’s continuation for a positive FATF review.
★Justice Gavai questions the government’s reliance on Mishra.
★Government lawyers claim reputation damage and negative impact on the country’s image.
★The Supreme Court had earlier termed the extension orders “illegal”.

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