Extending tenure of CBI, ED chiefs: Why Ordinance route is not right

Parliamentary proceedings offer a wonderful platform to debate, discuss & devise any new legislation. Any new legislation should be debated at length, as has been the tradition. At a time when the Parliament Session is just days ahead, taking the ordinance route could have been avoided.

Written by November 17, 2021 16:06
CBI - ED

Days before Parliament convenes its Winter Session, the Government has promulgated 2 ordinances with far-reaching consequences. The Ordinance empowers the incumbent government to extend the tenure of heads of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) from existing 2 years norm to 5 years. Both the premiere agencies share the onus of cracking most complicated cases as well as probing the high & mighty, who enjoy clout outside & inside the system.

The Ordinance is likely to get the Parliamentary approval in next few days when the Winter Session begins and will turn into a law. But, the path chosen by government to introduce a new law via Ordinance has set off political fireworks. Taking strong exception, Congress has called Modi government an ‘ordinance sarkar’ and berated it for bulldozing its way through the huddle.

Political pundits also believe that promulgating a law just before Parliament sessions harms not just the Temple of Democracy but also the two premiere agencies.

Both the Central agencies have suffered malicious & vicious attack on them under successive governments. As the agencies are ‘prone to influence’, their autonomy and integrity has repeatedly been questioned by those in Opposition. It’s because of such manipulation tactics, the Supreme Court devised measures to ring fence the CBI & ED chiefs from unwarranted influence by political executives.

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Patronage over Probity?

Ordinances are meant to deal with emergencies and brought when circumstances demand swift action. But, previous 2 years – 2019 & 2020 have seen ordinances surpassing Parliament scrutiny. According to PRS Legislative Research data, 16 & 15 ordinances were promulgated in 2019 & 2020.

Parliamentary proceedings offer a wonderful platform to debate, discuss & devise any new legislation. Any new legislation should be debated at length, as has been the tradition. At a time when the Parliament Session is just days ahead, taking the ordinance route could have been avoided.

Promulgating an ordinance in such circumstances, is nothing but a means to undermine the institution. Parliament is appropriate body for law-making and decisions that weaken its role should be avoided.

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