NEW DELHI: The opposition parties Monday slammed the central government over the two ordinances to extend the tenure of CBI and ED directors up to five years.
While Congress called for moving the Supreme Court to challenge the twin ordinances, the TMC has moved notices for statutory resolutions in the Rajya Sabha to raise objections.
“This ordinance is a message to the officers that if we (Centre) have appointed you, and if you keep working as per our orders, and keep harassing the Opposition, your tenure will be increased year after year. All parties should jointly approach the Supreme Court on this,” said Congress leader Manish Tewari.
The TMC has moved notices for statutory resolutions in the Rajya Sabha objecting to the ordinances by the government to extend the tenure of CBI and ED chiefs.
“Two brazen ordinances extend ED and CBI directors’ terms from two to five years. Parliament’s winter session begins two weeks from now. Be rest assured, opposition parties will do all it takes to stop India from turning into an elected autocracy,” tweeted TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien.
The government Sunday decided to amend the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act and the CVC Act to ensure the two directors’ tenure extends beyond the current fixed term of two years.
Other opposition parties are also expected to move similar notices ahead of the winter session of Parliament starting Nov 29. CPI MP Binoy Viswam said his party will also move a disapproval motion against the ordinances.
“On a polluted Sunday, the government has embarked on an ordinance route to protect their caged parrots. Disapproval motion will be moved against this ordinance raj. Distorting Constitution, Modi is in a hurry to make India a banana republic,” Viswam tweeted.
Trinamool MP Derek O' Brien said the opposition parties will do all it takes to stop India from "turning into an elected autocracy".
The Left parties demanded that the ordinances be rescinded immediately.
"The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) denounces the promulgation of two ordinances allowing the central government to extend the tenures of the directors of CBI and ED from two to five years."
"It is reprehensible that these ordinances have been promulgated on the eve of the winter session of parliament that is to commence from November 29. The BJP's regular resort to the route of "ordinance raj" is anti-democratic," the CPIM said on Monday.
The party further alleged that both the CBI and ED have been "functioning as the political arm of the ruling party to advance its agenda."
"Leaders of opposition parties are regularly targeted. This step is meant to further subvert the autonomy of these agencies and to make the key officers more pliable."
"The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that these ordinances be rescinded. CPI(M) MPs will oppose the move to convert these ordinances into law in parliament," it said in a statement.
The CPI too said that it was contemplating moving statutory resolutions against the ordinances.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi alleged the government was sidestepping Parliament and violating the Supreme Court's orders only to "misuse" the investigative agencies and reduce them to the "servility of political masters".
"The BJP is consistently and intentionally engaged in undermining and sabotaging the institutions and creating security for themselves and the establishment instead of security for the nation.
The ordinances are another example in that direction," he told reporters.
He alleged that these ordinances take these institutions from discipline and upholding the rule of law "to dutifulness to their political masters and to the discretion in choosing how to deal with equals unequally and from objectivity to subjectivity".
"The attempt is to substitute, servility and subordination to political masters in place of independence, he alleged.
"The constitutional values are as important as the constitutional letter and spirit. It seriously undermines the institutions - the Parliament and the Supreme Court," he claimed.
He expressed apprehension that the officers will be given an extension "only if they behaved or heard their master's voice".
"This is the very opposite of security of tenure and independence. It is turning the concept of independence of such agencies on its head," he said.
The Congress leader said the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) stands exposed not as an alliance of political parties "but as an alliance of the ED, the CBI and the Income Tax department".
"It is not a political alliance. It shows the CBI amidst its many-many glittering acronyms as a 'Credibility Bereft Institution'," he alleged.
He said all who care for the future of India should not take this lying down.
Introducing these ordinances just two weeks ahead of the Parliament session is an attempt at sabotaging, sidestepping, skirting the institution of Parliament, he said.
"What is the public interest in doing so. There is only self-interest, BJP-interest and the government's interest," he alleged.
The Congress leader also asked if the Modi government is so certain of the public interest, then surely it will have no objection if these are scrutinised by a Standing Committee of Parliament.
The Winter session of Parliament starts from November 29.
The tenure of the Directors of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate can now be extended by up to three years after the mandated term of two years, according to two ordinances brought in by the government on Sunday.
In both cases, an extension of one year can be given for three years.
The Centre's move, which drew sharp criticism from the Opposition, comes close on the heels of the Supreme Court saying that extension of tenure of officers who have attained the age of superannuation should only be granted in rare and exceptional cases and for a short duration.
The apex court stated this in a matter related to the extension granted in 2020 to Enforcement Directorate chief S K Mishra, a 1984-batch IRS officer who is due to retire on November 17.
Slamming the Congress, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said those who hurl accusations should have at least some positivity.
"Isi tarah ke aaropon ke mantar ne Congress ko choomantar kar diya hai (Due to its mantra of making such accusations, Congress is disappearing)," the Minority Affairs Minister told reporters at an event here when asked about the Congress' attack.
"Those who do such negative and destructive politics only harm themselves," he said.
(With PTI Inputs)