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Tenure of director of Enforcement Directorate

2023 MAY 10

Preliminary   > Polity   >   Executive   >   Government agencies

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court has said it might revisit its 2021 ruling that the tenure of a superannuated officer of Enforcement Directorate may be extended only in exceptional circumstances.

What is the case about?

  • The tenure for directors of CBI and ED was two years. In 2020, the Central Government extended the tenure of the ED Director by a year.
  • This extension was challenged in court. The court in 2021 upheld the Centre’s order extending the tenure beyond two years.
  • However, the court said that extension of tenure to officers who have attained the age of superannuation should be done only in rare and exceptional cases and that such extensions should be for a short period.
  • Later in 2021, with the one-year extension of the ED Director coming to an end, then President signed ordinances that amended the laws governing the CBI and ED, enabling the government to keep the two chiefs in their posts for one year after the completion of their two-year terms and to keep giving these one-year extensions until they complete five years as chiefs.
  • This extension has now been challenged in the Supreme Court on the grounds that it violated the 2021 ruling of the Supreme Court.

What is Enforcement Directorate (ED)?

  • The Directorate General of Economic Enforcement (Enforcement Directorate) is a law enforcement and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
  • It was formed with the purpose of handling exchange control law violations under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,1947.
  • Enforcement Directorate (ED) is administered by the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance.
  • The ED has its headquarters in New Delhi and has many regional offices all over the country.

Functions of Enforcement Directorate:

  • The Directorate enforces two laws:
  • Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA):
    •  A Civil Law having quasi-judicial powers, for investigating suspected contraventions of the Exchange Control Laws and Regulations with the powers to impose penalties on those adjudged guilty.
  • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA):
    • A Criminal Law, whereby the Officers are empowered to conduct enquiries to locate, provisionally attach/confiscate assets derived from acts of Schedules Offences besides arresting and prosecuting the Money Launderers.
  • Other functions:
    • Processing cases of fugitive/s from India under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
    • Sponsor cases of preventive detention under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974(COFEPOSA) in regard to contraventions of FEMA.


Enforcement Directorate is mandated to enforce which of the following laws?

1. Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002

2. Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999

3. Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3