Supreme Court judge, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Friday recused himself from hearing a batch of petitions challenging the amended law allowing extension of up to five years for the ED Director.
Justice Kaul did not cite any specific reason for his decision and ordered the matter to be listed before a bench of which he is not a member. The development came a day after ED Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra, an Indian Revenue Service officer of 1984 batch, was given a fresh one-year extension.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing one of the petitioners, submitted before the bench, also comprising Justice Abhay S. Oka, that the Centre had given a fresh extension in service to the incumbent ED Director to frustrate the petitions pending before the apex court.
The bench said since the counsel for the parties have expressed some urgency in the matter, the matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India for necessary orders. The apex court had last year made it clear that Mishra will not be granted any further extension.
Mishra’s four-year-long tenure in the ED was to be completed in November 18 this year but he has been given another stint as head of the central anti-money-laundering probe agency.
Several petitioners, including those filed by Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Jaya Thakur, and Trinamool Congress’ Mahua Moitra and Saket Gokhale, had moved the apex court challenging the extension to the ED Director.
On September 5, the Supreme Court appointed senior advocate K.V. Viswanathan as amicus curiae in connection with a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of the extension given to the tenure of Mishra.
The petitioners have argued that extension given to Mishra is a blatant violation of the top court’s directions by promulgating an ordinance to amend the Central Vigilance Commission Act to allow an extension up to 5 years for the term of the ED Director.