The Supreme Court on Tuesday orally observed that it is not concerned with the political affiliations of the petitioners, who have challenged the third extension given to ED Director S.K. Mishra and also the CVC Amendment Act 2021.
During the hearing, a bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and Vikram Nath orally observed: "We are not concerned with who belongs to Bharatiya Janata Party and who belongs to Congress."
The bench made this observation after the amicus curiae, senior advocate KV Viswanathan submitted that his submissions will be purely on the law and he is not concerned with the politics of the petitioners or the individual cases.
In the previous hearing in the matter on Monday, Viswanathan told the Supreme Court that the extension was illegal, citing the apex court's decisions in Vineet Narain & others v. Union of India and Common Cause v. Union of India to support his contention.
He further added that the issue was not about the incumbent director at all, rather it was about the principle. On Tuesday, the top court was informed that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was not available to argue the matter.
The bench expressed its discontent with unavailability of Mehta and adjourned the hearing to Thursday, while noting it had clearly stated during the last hearing that this matter would start at the time specified.
The bench added that the SG had assured that the matter would not be adjourned and this is not fair to the court. The Centre has told the Supreme Court that the PIL challenging the extension of tenure of the Director of Enforcement Directorate (ED) Sanjay Kumar Mishra has been filed with the intention of protecting Congress leaders who are facing money laundering charges.
Listing the petitioners - Randeep Singh Surjewala, Jaya Thakur (both Congress), Saket Gokhale and Mahua Moitra (both Trinamool Congress), the affidavit said the eminent leaders of these parties are under investigation of ED.
"It is respectfully submitted that certain leaders of the aforesaid political parties are under investigation of the Directorate. The investigation is strictly going on in accordance with law which is reflected from the fact that in most of the cases, either the competent courts have taken cognizance of the offence of constitutional courts have refused to grant any relief to such leaders of the above political parties," said the affidavit, filed by the Centre in the apex court.