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Issue fresh order on ED director’s appointment: SC to Centre

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to issue a fresh notification within a week on the appointment of Karnal Singh as Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for two years in consonance with provision of the CVC Act, saying “a rule cannot override a statute”.

Enforcement Directorate Director Karnal Singh
Enforcement Directorate Director Karnal Singh

A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana observed this after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said Singh has been appointed as the ED Director on October 27 last year and would hold the post till his superannuation in the Indian Police Service (IPS).

However, the counsel appearing for the petitioner referred to section 25(d) of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act which fixes tenure of ED Director at not less than two years.

“A perusal of clause d of section 25 of the Act reveals that appointment of Director of ED should not be for less than two years notwithstanding the date of superannuation. We are of the view that rules cannot override a legislation….,” the bench said.

While disposing of the plea, the bench asked the government to issue fresh order within a week on Singh’s appointment as Director of ED for two years in consonance with section 25(d) of the CVC Act.

On January 23, the apex court had asked the government to clarify whether the appointment of Singh, a 1984-batch IPS officer, as full-time Director of ED was as per statutory requirements.

The apex court had noted that as per appointment letter issued to Singh on October 27, 2016, he will cease to hold office the day he superannuates in August 2017 and hence, it does not comply with section 25(d) of CVC Act.

Singh, who was holding the additional charge of the director’s post after being granted extension, was appointed a full-time director of Enforcement Directorate on October 27, 2016 till August 31, 2017, the date of his superannuation.

“A Director of Enforcement shall continue to hold office for a period of not less than two years from the date on which he assumes office,” reads section 25(d) of the CVC Act.

The apex court had on September 30 last year asked the government to give a time frame for appointing a full time director of the agency which probes money laundering cases.

The direction had come on a PIL filed last year by Mumbai -based former IRS officer Uday Babu Khalwadekar, seeking quashing of ad-hoc appointment and subsequent extensions granted by Centre to Singh as head of the agency in alleged violation of the law.

PTI

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