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Dr. Jaya Thakur vs Union Of India on 11 July, 2023
DATE OF JUDGMENT11th July 2023
COURTSupreme Court of India
BENCHSanjay KarolVikram NathB.R. Gavai


The case of B.S. Murthy and Others Vs. A. Ravinder Singh and Others, involves seniority of Inspectors of Central Excise, as between direct recruits and promotees. The promotee inspectors are aggrieved and are appellants before the Apex Court. Multiple proceedings and applications filed in the Supreme Court of India. The case was initially filed as a Civil Appeal. The judgment was pronounced on March 15, 2022, and there were subsequent miscellaneous applications and contempt petitions related to the case.  The major issue in this case is to determine whether the High Court erred in setting aside the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)? The appellants are aggrieved by a common judgment and order of the erstwhile unified High Court of Andhra Pradesh in several writ petitions. The High Court allowed those writ petitions and set aside the order of the CAT in a batch of ten original applications. The CAT’s order had allowed those applications and directed proper fixation of inter se seniority of Inspectors of Central Excise, as between direct recruits and promotees. 


  1. The following circumstances, in essence, are what led to the current writ petitions. The parties listed in the cause-title of Writ Petition (Civil) No. 456 of 2022 shall be referred to hereafter. 
  2.  The respondent No. 2, Sanjay Kumar Mishra, in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 456 of 2022, was appointed as Director of Enforcement by order dated November 19, 2018, for a period of two years from the date he assumed charge of the post or until further orders, whichever was earlier. Mishra was working as Principal Special Director in the Directorate of Enforcement, or “ED” for short.
  3. The Committee for the Extension of the Tenure of Respondent No. 2 was convened on November 15, 2021, under the direction of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, to discuss the proposal. The Committee decided to extend Respondent No. 2’s tenure as Director of Enforcement for a period of one year, or until November 18, 2022, in the public interest. 
  4.  Writ Petition (Civil) Nos. 14 of 2022, 274 of 2022, and 456 of 2022 came to be filed before this Court, contesting the provisions of the Amendment Acts and/or the Office Order of November 17, 2021. The change to the DSPE Act that allows for an extension of the tenure of the Central Bureau of Investigation (“CBI”) director has also been contested in some of the petitions. 
  5. A committee led by the Central Vigilance Commissioner, comprising the Home Secretary and the Secretary (Personnel), would recommend candidates for the position of Director, CBI. The Committee will weigh the opinions of the current Director in order to determine which option is best. A panel of IPS officers will be assembled by the Committee based on their seniority, honesty, and investigative and anti-corruption work experience.The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) will make the final selections from the panel that the Selection Committee has recommended.If none of the panels is deemed appropriate, the Committee will be tasked with creating a new panel and the reasons for each will be noted.
  6. The Selection Committee’s approval is required for the transfer of an incumbent Director, CBI in an extraordinary circumstance, which may include the need for him to accept a more significant assignment. 


  1. Are the Amendments contrary to the SC’s decision in Common Cause v Union of India (2021)?
  2. Do the Amendments threaten the independence of the investigative bodies namely the CBI and the ED?
  3. Can the legislature make a law to extend Mr. Mishra’s tenure, in direct contravention to an SC Order that specifically prohibits any extensions for him?
  4. Do the Amendments violate the principles of fair trial and fair investigation guaranteed under the Rights to Equality and Life?


  1. In his appearance on behalf of the petitioner in Writ Petition (Civil) Nos. 456 of 2022 and No. 1106 of 2022, Mr. Anoop G. Choudhary, learned Senior Counsel, argues that it is legally not permissible to take any action that would annul the effect of this court’s order dated September 8, 2021.
  2. In the Common Cause (2021) case, Mr. Gopal Sankarnarayanan argues that although this Court has upheld the Union of India’s power to extend the tenure of the Director of Enforcement beyond two years, it has made it clear that officers who have reached the age of superannuation should only have their tenure extended in rare and exceptional cases. This is addressed in paragraph 23 of the ruling. He argues that this Court has expressly declared that any term extension given to those holding the position of Director of Enforcement after they reach the age of superannuation must be brief. It is alleged that respondent No. 1—Union of India—has revoked all of the directives granted by this Court.He submits that even though Respondent No. 2 was initially appointed for a two-year term, he will continue for a five-year term as a result of extensions granted.
  3. In addition, Mr. Sankarnarayanan argues that this Court has employed the phrases “in rare and exceptional cases” and “to facilitate the completion of ongoing investigations.” But disregarding those exact terms, respondent No. 2 is granted an extension based on a nebulous definition of “public interest.”
  4. In Vineet Narain and Others v. Union of India and Others, Mr. Sankarnayaranan argues that this CourtIt has been consistently held in cases Prakash Singh and others v. Union of India and others (Prakash Singh-1)4, Prakash Singh and others v. Union of India (Prakash Singh-2)5, and Prakash Singh and others v. Union of India and others (Prakash Singh-3)6 that high-ranking officials such as the Director of Enforcement, the Director of the CBI, and the Director General of Police should have fixed two-year terms to shield them from unnecessary pressures and allow them to operate freely and independently. It is argued that the very clause allowing for the ability to request an extension runs counter to the need for insulation. If an incumbent follows the directives of the authorities, he will receive a (1998) 1 SCC 226 (2006) Four SCC 14 (Prakash Singh-2) (2019) Four SCC 1 [Prakash Singh-3) extension; 8 SCC 1 (Prakash Singh-1) (2019). On the other hand, an extension would not be granted to the current office holder if they fail to carry out the directives of the authorities. It is argued that as a result, the officer’s independence would be diminished. Therefore, it is proposed that the unnecessary pressure insulation that was installed in the aforementioned offices be removed. Thus, the skilled counsel argues that both Amendments must be declared invalid and revoked. Additionally, the extension given to Respondent No. 2 must be set aside.
  5. In Writ Petition (Civil) no. 274 of 2022, Mr. Sharangowda, an experienced attorney representing the petitioner, argues that the vigilance clearance is necessary throughout the extension phase as well. He argues that since there hasn’t been any such vigilance approval in this instance, the extension that was given is illegal.
  6. In Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1374 of 2020, learned counsel standing on behalf of the original petitioner argues that M.A. No. 1756 of 2022, which the Union of India filed to modify the judgement and order issued by this Court on September 8, 2021, is illegal. He argues that the applicants are effectively requesting a review of this court’s decision through their current M.A. for modification.
  7.  He argues that the Change in Law is not subject to review, citing the ruling of this Court’s Constitution Bench in the Beghar Foundation via its Secretary and another v. Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retired) and others7 case.
  8.  Acquired knowledge According to SG, the argument that the mandamus ordered by this Court has been nullified by the contested Amendments to the CVC Act and the DSPE Act is baseless. It is argued that, given the statutory provisions in effect at the time, the mandamus granted by this Court was contextual. The argument in that regard ought to be dismissed since the legislative provision has undergone a thorough revision that removes the basis upon which the mandamus is granted.
  9.  Enough protection must be given for Enforcement Directorate officers who handle critical missions so they may carry out their duties without fear.

  10.  The aforementioned Committee, which is led by the Central Vigilance Commissioner, should make decisions about term extensions up to the rank of Joint Director in the Enforcement Directorate. 
  11. The petitioners contend that numerous rulings from this Court have highlighted the need for maintaining the integrity and independence of the CBI/ED institution as a whole as well as for guaranteeing total insulation of the office of the Director of CBI/Director of Enforcement from all forms of extraneous influences, as applicable. It is argued that the Amendments, which give the government the power to grant extensions—and that, too, for a maximum of three extensions total—would allow the government to use a “carrot and stick” strategy. It is said that the Directors of the CBI and Enforcement might receive extensions of their term if they carry out the government’s wishes.Conversely, if a director fails to act in accordance with the government’s wishes, he will be denied extension.Therefore, it is argued that the very goal of shielding these premium agencies from unwarranted pressures from the government was intended to be defeated by the contested amendments


  1. Mr. K.V. Viswanathan, a knowledgeable Amicus Curiae, has spoken to us. Additionally, Mr. Anoop G. Choudhary, Mr. Gopal Sankarnarayanan, Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, learned Senior Counsel, Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Mr. J.S. Sinha, and Mr. Sharangowda, learned counsel, appeared on behalf of the petitioners; Mr. Tushar Mehta, learned Solicitor General, and Mr. S.V. Raju, learned Additional Solicitor General, appeared on behalf of the respondent, Union of India; and Ms. Vanshaja Shukla, learned counsel, appeared on behalf of respondent No. 3 in M.A. No. 1756 of 2022.
  2. Furthermore, Mr. Choudhary argues that respondent No. 2 was also a party to this court’s judgement in the Common Cause (2021) case. He argues that the Union of India and he are both bound by this Court’s directive that respondent No. 2 be denied any further extensions. Learned counsel argues that respondent No. 1’s position, which stated that this Court issued the directive because the officer in question had reached superannuation age and that the extension of the Director of Enforcement’s term is permissible due to a change to the Fundamental Rules (henceforth referred to as “FR”), is entirely without merit. As a result, the court’s ruling in the Common Cause (2021) case is entirely based on a bare lie.
  3. Based on the ruling of the Madras High Court in the case of V. Sasitharan & Ors. v. The Government of Tamil Nadu & Ors.10, the Learned Amicus argues that the extensions given to officers after their retirement date cause resentment and disappointment among their lower-level counterparts, whose sole goal in their official career is to become the highest ranking official in the administrative hierarchy. According to Learned Amicus, the Madras High Court has ruled that if such extensions are given as a matter of largesse, there is every chance that the official in service will operate completely against the interests of the public by playing to the wishes of those in authority.
  4. Acquired knowledge According to Amicus, it is also inconsistent to argue that the current incumbent must be kept in office because of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ongoing mutual examination of India. According to the submission, respondent No. 2 can only continue until November 2023 even after the Amendment, and any potential plenary debates are most likely to take place in June 2024. Thus, it is argued that the argument that the current incumbent’s tenure must continue in order for India to adequately state its case during the FATF assessment is likewise baseless.
  5. At the current petitioners’ request, the learned Solicitor General, or “SG,” Shri Tushar Mehta, made a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the current writ petitions. He claims that political party members make up the majority of the writ petitions. He claims that the ED is looking into a number of these political parties’ members. Thus, it is argued that the current writ petitions are not really filed in the public interest but rather have a covert purpose.
  6.  The learned SG states that, with regard to the Director of the CBI, likewise, the extension can only be approved in the case that the Committee, which consists of (a) the Honourable Prime Minister;
  7. In response, Mr. Gopal Sankarnarayanan argues that the Director of Enforcement is directly under the Ministry of Finance’s jurisdiction and that a gradual expansion would put the position in a position where the incumbent would work in accordance with government directives. The esteemed Senior Counsel further argues that, in order to safeguard democracy, organisations such as the ED and the CBI must be shielded, citing the recent ruling of this Court’s Constitution Bench in the matter of Anoop Baranwal v. Union of India20. Thus, he restates his demand that the contested Amendments be overturned together with the extensions given to Respondent No. 2.
  8. As requested in the aforementioned writ petition, the learned Single Judge of the Calcutta High Court granted the writ petition and issued a writ of mandamus and prohibition. A Letters Patent Appeal, or “LPA” for short, was preferred by the LIC. Nonetheless, the Act that is being contested in this court was passed on May 29, 1976, while the LPA was still pending. The statute had the effect of nullifying the benefits to which the LIC workers were entitled in light of the mandamus that the Calcutta High Court had issued.


The judgment in the case of Dr. Jaya Thakur vs Union Of India on 11 July, 2023, involved the Supreme Court permitting the Director of the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) to continue in office until 15th September 2023. This decision was made after considering the need for a smooth transition and the concerns raised by the Union of India regarding the FATF review. The court clarified that the Director would cease to hold the position with effect from the midnight of 15th-16th September 2023 and that no further application for extension would be entertained beyond this date.


The Dr. Jaya Thakur v. Union of India case is a significant decision in the context of the constitutional validity of the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Act, 2021, the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Act, 2021, and the Fundamental (Amendment) Rules, 2021. The case involved a challenge to the orders giving extension to the tenure of the Director of the Enforcement Directorate, Sanjay Kumar Mishra, for a period of one year. The petitioners argued that the direction given in an earlier case that no further extension shall be granted to the Director could not have been nullified by changing the Law.The Supreme Court held that the nullification of a mandamus by a subsequent legislative exercise was impermissible. The court relied on several earlier decisions, including Madan Mohan Pathak v. Union of India, In Re., Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, S.R. Bhagwat v. State of Mysore, Madras Bar Association v. Union of India, and Medical Council of India v. State of Kerala and others, to hold that the nullification of a mandamus by a subsequent legislation was illegal.The court also emphasized the role of the judiciary in ensuring that the legislature and the executive function within the constitutional limits and in restraining unconstitutional exercise of power by the legislature and executive. However, while doing so, the court must remain within its self-imposed limits.The case is significant in the context of the power of the court to issue mandamus and the effect of subsequent legislative exercise on the same. It also highlights the importance of the separation of powers and the role of the judiciary in ensuring that the legislature and the executive operate within the constitutional framework.


The conclusion of the Dr. Jaya Thakur v. Union of India case is that the Supreme Court held the extensions granted to Sanjay Kumar Mishra, the Director of the Enforcement Directorate, were illegal and contrary to its 2021 judgment. The court ruled that the nullification of a mandamus by a subsequent legislative exercise was impermissible. This decision reaffirmed the importance of judicial review as a powerful tool to restrain unconstitutional exercises of power by the legislature and executive. The case highlighted the need for the judiciary to ensure that both the legislature and the executive function within constitutional limits, while also emphasizing the importance of the judiciary staying within its self-imposed limits during such reviews.


  1. SCC Online
  2. https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=2be0e54cf1340934JmltdHM9MTcxMjUzNDQwMCZpZ3VpZD0wMzI0Y2MwYy1kZDM1LTY2ZTQtM2ZhYS1kODQyZGM4NDY3ZGUmaW5zaWQ9NTIxNw&ptn=3&ver=2&hsh=3&fclid=0324cc0c-dd35-66e4-3faa-d842dc8467de&psq=dr.+jaya+thakur+v.+union+of+india&u=a1aHR0cHM6Ly9pbmRpYW5rYW5vb24ub3JnL2RvYy85NTg3MjA2Lw&ntb=1
  3. https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=4b974ca1cb2f4f31JmltdHM9MTcxMjUzNDQwMCZpZ3VpZD0wMzI0Y2MwYy1kZDM1LTY2ZTQtM2ZhYS1kODQyZGM4NDY3ZGUmaW5zaWQ9NTI0MA&ptn=3&ver=2&hsh=3&fclid=0324cc0c-dd35-66e4-3faa-d842dc8467de&psq=dr.+jaya+thakur+v.+union+of+india&u=a1aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuc3VwcmVtZWNvdXJ0Y2FzZXMuY29tL2RyLWpheWEtdGhha3VyLWFuZC1vdGhlcnMtdi11bmlvbi1vZi1pbmRpYS1hbmQtYW5vdGhlci8&ntb=1
  4. https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=34ed89098bfac23fJmltdHM9MTcxMjUzNDQwMCZpZ3VpZD0wMzI0Y2MwYy1kZDM1LTY2ZTQtM2ZhYS1kODQyZGM4NDY3ZGUmaW5zaWQ9NTI4Ng&ptn=3&ver=2&hsh=3&fclid=0324cc0c-dd35-66e4-3faa-d842dc8467de&psq=dr.+jaya+thakur+v.+union+of+india&u=a1aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuY2FzZW1pbmUuY29tL2p1ZGdlbWVudC9pbi82NGFkY2EzNTllMGUyZjI5OGVjNThmNDY&ntb=1
  5. https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=825f32c672aa4c5eJmltdHM9MTcxMjUzNDQwMCZpZ3VpZD0wMzI0Y2MwYy1kZDM1LTY2ZTQtM2ZhYS1kODQyZGM4NDY3ZGUmaW5zaWQ9NTMwOA&ptn=3&ver=2&hsh=3&fclid=0324cc0c-dd35-66e4-3faa-d842dc8467de&psq=dr.+jaya+thakur+v.+union+of+india&u=a1aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubGl2ZWxhdy5pbi9wZGZfdXBsb2FkLzUxOC1kci1qYXlhLXRoYWt1ci12LXVuaW9uLW9mLWluZGlhLTExLWp1bC0yMDIzLTQ4MTUwOC5wZGY&ntb=1

This Article is written by Nikita Gomdani student of Manipal University Jaipur, Rajasthan Intern at Legal Vidhiya.


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