A fresh plea was filed before the Supreme Court on Thursday challenging the third extension of tenure granted to incumbent director of Enforcement Directorate (ED), Sanjay Kumar Mishra.
The plea by Congress leader Jaya Thakur was filed through advocate Varinder Kumar Sharma and drawn by advocates Varun Thakur and Shashank Ratnoo.
The plea stated that the third extension granted to Mishra was in violation of the top court's orders and "is destroying the democratic process of our country".
The top court is already seized of a batch of pleas challenging the validity of the earlier extensions given to Mishra.
The Supreme Court had in its September 2021 verdict ruled against granting more extensions to Mishra.
Mishra was first appointed as the ED Director for a two-year term in November 2018. The two-year term expired in November 2020. In May 2020, he had reached the retirement age of 60.
However, on November 13, 2020, the Central Government issued an office order stating that the President had modified the 2018 order to the effect that a time of 'two years' was changed to a period of 'three years.' This was challenged before the Supreme Court by the NGO Common Cause.
The Supreme Court while approving the modification, had ruled against further extensions.
After the Supreme Court's decision last year, the Central government brought in an ordinance amending the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, empowering itself to extend the tenure of the ED Director by up to five years.
This came to be challenged before the top court and those petitions are pending before it.
In that batch of petitions, the Central government had submitted an affidavit stating that the petitions were politically motivated since the petitioners belong to political parties whose leaders are currently under the ED scanner.
The government defended the extension, stating that it was done since the specialised work required to be administered by a premier agency is a continuous process, and the person leading the organisation should have a tenure of two to five years.
The matter has remained pending after Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had recused from hearing the pleas last month.
On November 17 this year, Mishra was given another one-year extension which has been challenged by way of this latest plea by Jaya Thakur.
The plea said that the Central government through such a move was destroying the democratic fabric of the country for extraneous considerations.
"The Union of India cannot take refuge under the plea that important extensions are pending," the petition stated.
The petitioner further submitted that there are competent officers available for the post, who are losing out because of such extension.