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Updated: October 1, 2012 23:46 IST

Don’t undermine office of CAG, says Supreme Court

Legal Correspondent
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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL challenging CAG’s power to examine coal block allocations. The apex court contended that th Parliament can examine CAG’s opinion in such cases. File photo
AP The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL challenging CAG’s power to examine coal block allocations. The apex court contended that th Parliament can examine CAG’s opinion in such cases. File photo

Dismisses writ petition challenging government auditor’s powers

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a writ petition challenging the powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) to conduct performance audit relating to allocation of coal blocks and other issues.

A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and Anil R. Dave dismissed the petition filed by Arvind Gupta, who sought a declaration that the CAG had no power and authority under Article 149 of the Constitution and under the CAG’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Services) Act, 1971 to conduct performance audit of the schemes and policy of the Government of India.

After hearing counsel Santosh Paul, appearing for the petitioner, Justice Lodha told him : “CAG is not a munim [accountant] to go into the balance-sheets. The CAG is a constitutional authority entitled to review and conduct performance audit on revenue allocations relating to the Centre, the States and the Union Territories … and examine matters relating to the economy and how the government uses its resources.”

Justice Lodha told counsel: “The CAG is a constitutional authority who is under a mandate to place before Parliament or the State legislature concerned its findings. It was for Parliament or the respective legislatures to act upon such reports. It was for Parliament to consider, accept, partially accept or reject the CAG’s findings. Ultimately it was for Parliament to take a call on the CAG’s report and say ‘your [CAG] report is misconceived/misplaced and also reject the opinion. Don’t undermine the office of the CAG.’”

“It’s against principles”

The petitioner said the performance audit conducted by the CAG was ultra vires the Constitution. It was in effect authorising the CAG to review or assess a scheme or policy of the government, which was beyond the constitutional authority given to the CAG under Article 149 of the Constitution.

“The Regulations on Audit and Accounts, 2007 framed under the CAG’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Services) Act, 1971 empowering the CAG to conduct performance audit was violative of the principles of separation of powers. By conducting a performance audit, the CAG is, in fact, conducting a review of policy decision taken by the government, which is beyond its constitutional mandate. Even the judiciary is not permitted to conduct a review of the policy decisions of the government in view of the constitutional scheme,” the petitioner said.

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when the vested interest are unhappy with the brilliant findings on
various scams by Cab. he has given his report without any fear or
favour. When the report directly affect the reputation and even comes
under the mat in regard to coal gate interested parties has gone on a
pIL to Supreme court and very rightly SC has categorically defined his
job and his jurisdiction which is not confined to balance sheet but
justification for review and performance of the government. When
constitutionally that is the mandate, there is no use looking at his
report in poor light and pointing out his over reach beyond his brief.
now that cAG,s dignity is restored and CAg need not hesitate to review
whatever he is supposed to do

from:  E.Sivasankaran
Posted on: Oct 2, 2012 at 15:44 IST

An honest government wouldn't have anything to fear about a CAG report. Such a
government can give an explanation to the parliament if anything which it had done
rightly is reported wrongly by the CAG as not in order and it is for the parliament to
accept or reject it. It cannot be that the government did not know this. Its reaction to
the CAG report therefore has to taken as a product of fear.The fear is
understandable.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Oct 2, 2012 at 06:57 IST

Mr. Seshagiri, Kapil Sibal and his colleagues in the cabinet including his party chief and others and DEAF TO GOOD THINGS AND GOOD OBSERVATIONS. After all, he was even rebuked by the PM on his zero-loss theory.

from:  mohan
Posted on: Oct 2, 2012 at 00:23 IST

The SC observation that the CAG is not a Munim (Accountant) amounts to nothing but a slap on the face of UPAII munisters and spokesmen who have time and again been accusing the CAG for transgressing his 'mandate'. This should serve as a timely warning to all those gentries to desist from making such wild accusations againdt CAG and other constitionally elected bodies in the future.

from:  TSREENIVASAN
Posted on: Oct 1, 2012 at 21:25 IST

This is not an obeservation, this is a verdict, what Kapil sibal called a verdict was merely an observation. That too if looked legally was in favor of CAG. Its just the mis-information of congress machinery!

from:  vivek
Posted on: Oct 1, 2012 at 20:36 IST

The criticism of the CAG by Ministers and Congress leaders in regard to the constitutional
authority's criticism of the manner of allotment of coal blocks by the government had crossed
all limits of propriety. Now the Supreme Court has given them a lesson in how to treat the
report's of the CAG in a constitutional manner. The government should take heed of the two
recent judgements of thr SC and explain to the CAG how the method it adopted for coal
block allocations was better than auctions in maximizing public good and explain how the
allotment procedure can be considered transparent.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Oct 1, 2012 at 17:27 IST

Hello Mr.Kabilsibal. Are you hearing this observation made by supreme
court?

from:  A.SESHAGIRI
Posted on: Oct 1, 2012 at 17:19 IST

The way UPA is reacting to CAG and his findings, it will do a lot of
godo for ti if the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sectt. were to furnish to
the Cabinet secretary extracts from parliamentary proceeidngs on CAG
when the constitution was readied. Our minisiters need badly a refresher
quickly.

from:  s.subramanyan
Posted on: Oct 1, 2012 at 15:53 IST

A direct hit at those in power who have been nursing strange versions of
what a CAG should be. Nation is grateful to the surpeme court for
putting them wise.

from:  s.subramanyan
Posted on: Oct 1, 2012 at 15:30 IST

UPA has forgotten that the CAG is a constitutional authority, formulated by the constitution of India. It is doing its job, whether the work done does or does not favours them. If you are found to be wrong, you should not finger out on it. Give the case to PAC for further checks. That will do further study. Don't pin-point a constitutional body for your political benefits.

from:  ARUN KUMAR
Posted on: Oct 1, 2012 at 15:29 IST
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