The reappointment of the current director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), S K Mishra, hangs in the balance as the government, it is learnt, is looking into legal provisions to see if a retired government official can be re-appointed to the rank of additional secretary to the government, a mandatory requirement to be eligible for the post.
The appointment of director at ED is governed by Section 25 of the Central Vigilance Commission, Act 2003.
As per the laws, no person below the rank of Additional Secretary to the government is eligible for appointment as the director and the person appointed has a fixed term of not less than two years.
The incumbent ED head Mishra turned 60, the retirement age for government employees, on May 20.
However, he continues to head the agency, as the post of ED director, unlike the posts of Central Board of Direct Taxes or Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs chairman, comes with an assured tenure of two years as per the Central Vigilance Commission Act.
Mishra’s two-year term will end on November 18, according to records.
Now the key question facing the government is if a retired government official can be given the rank of additional secretary and be reappointed as the director of ED as the CVC norms are silent on extension for the post of ED Director.
So far, none of the past ED Directors have been re-appointed by any government.
“So even if Mishra gets an extension after retirement, he will first have to be reappointed to a post equivalent to the rank of Additional Secretary as he will not be eligible to be reappointed at ED directly and then will be considered by the Central Vigilance Commission committee, which will probably seek the opinion of the Attorney General on the reappointment issue,” said a Senior Advocate practising in Supreme Court.
The appointment for the ED director post is done on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the chairperson of the Central Vigilance Commission, the Home Secretary, Revenue Secretary, Vigilance Commissioners and the Secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training.
Apart from Mishra, there are at least three contenders for the post.
They include Balesh Kumar, director general of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, S M Sahai, additional secretary at the National Security Council Secretariat and Amit Jain, who is the principal chief commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai, according to sources.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines