Says existing system of his appointment working successfully

After firing a volley of allegations against Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Vinod Rai and his team, questioning everything from the organisation’s methods to merits, the government has done a sudden U-turn to shower praise on the constitutional body. This is an obvious attempt to ensure that the appointment of the CAG follows the present system rather than go to an independent panel.

In fact, the government has been forced to eat its words while admitting that that the CAG has “played the role of a vanguard in reporting on financial irregularities, irrespective of the government in power.”

The government now accepts that “the existing system of the appointment of the CAG has been working successfully and there has been no cause for concern regarding its impartiality and professionalism, irrespective of the government under which they get appointed.”

From October 2010 till December 2012, for nearly two-and-a-half years, the CAG had been attacked by everyone in the United Progressive Alliance including by Cabinet Ministers, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, spokespersons of the Congress party and the UPA government, and even by the Prime Minister.

The government’s new-found admiration for the CAG has been elicited in response to a short question posed by Communist party of India leader and MP Gurudas Dasgupta to the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament that the appointment should be by a committee comprising of the PM (Chairman), Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani had suggested that a “broad-based collegium should be empowered to select the best possible candidate.”

Opposing any change in the procedure, the government said: “There is no urgent concern about the CAG being partisan or working in favour of the government or a particular political party,” based on Constitutional provisions, “which ensures the independence of the CAG, once appointed by the President of India, to perform his duties without fear or favour.”

“The present system of appointment of the CAG by the President of India as laid down in the Constitution has stood the test of time ever since the first appointment made after the adoption of the Constitution in 1950.”

The government further insisted that “there has been no cause ever to indicate that the CAG has been partisan or in favour of any government.”

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