The Delhi High Court on Monday said it would also like to hear Comptroller and Auditor General Shashi Kant Sharma before deciding the PILs seeking his removal from the post on grounds including the plea of conflict of interest as CAG due to previous associations with the Defence Ministry.
“Is anybody appearing for this respondent (CAG),” a bench comprising justices B.D. Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru asked the counsel for the Centre to inform the office of the CAG to represent him (Sharma) before it on September 18.
Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami and eight other eminent citizens, however, said that notices be issued to the CAG and others on the PIL. A similar petition has been filed by advocate M.L. Sharma.
The bench, which, so far, has not issued the notices and is hearing the pleas on their maintainability, said, “We wish to decide the petitions after hearing the parties concerned.”
Earlier, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Centre, had justified the appointment of former defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma as CAG saying the Central Government has acted within its rights and its decision making process can’t be “outsourced” on mere “apprehensions” of few persons.
Mr. Vahanvati had opposed the PILs challenging appointment of Mr. Sharma and sought framing of guidelines for selection of CAG saying: “How can the decision making process and the power of the central government be outsourced?
“It cannot be done. The prayer (seeking framing of guidelines for appointment of CAG) is contrary to the constitutional scheme. The selection process cannot be changed on mere apprehension of few persons.”
The petitions have sought quashing of the appointment of the CAG and a direction to the Centre to frame guidelines for appointment of the top auditing officer of the country.