Express View on SC order on ED chief: State’s strong arm

Source: The post is based on the article “Express View on SC order on ED chief: State’s strong arm” published in “The Indian Express ” on 13th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2- Issues associated with the functioning of judiciary – Supreme Court

News: The Supreme Court has made a decision in the case of Sanjay Kumar Mishra. He is the chief of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The court decided that two extensions to his term were not valid. Mishra must leave his job on July 31. This is four months earlier than planned.

What is the Supreme Court’s (SC) view in the Sanjay Kumar Mishra case?

The Supreme Court has shared its opinion on the matter of Enforcement Directorate (ED) chief Sanjay Kumar Mishra’s tenure. Here’s a simplified breakdown of the Court’s perspective:

Separating procedural and political elements: The Supreme Court was cautious in differentiating between the procedural and political aspects in the challenge to Mishra’s appointment. It was clear in its stance that while political motivations might be involved, the focus should be on the legal procedures followed or violated.

Unlawful extensions: The Court announced the two tenure extensions received by Mishra as invalid. They instructed him to step down from his position on July 31, much earlier than the end of his original term.

Parliament’s authority to modify laws: The Court upheld the power of Parliament to amend laws. It stated that Parliament has the right to modify laws to extend the tenure of positions like the ED and CBI chief.

Warning against arbitrary power use: The Court also emphasized the importance of not using this power arbitrarily. It suggested that, while Parliament has the authority to change the laws, it should not be done randomly or without good reason.

Specific criticism in Mishra’s case: The Court expressed disapproval of how this power was used in the specific case of Mishra. It found fault with the government for extending his tenure, despite a previous Court direction against it.

Rejection of opposition’s claims: The Supreme Court declined to consider the Opposition’s plea. The Opposition had accused the central government of using the agency for its own political gains, but the Court did not entertain this.

Expectations from the agency: Lastly, the Court placed the onus on the ED to demonstrate its fairness and transparency. It expects the agency to convince its critics about its impartial and honest operations.

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