The Delhi High Court on Wednesday agreed to hear two separate PILs challenging appointment of Shashi Kant Sharma as Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and asked the Centre to file its response by August 8.
“Let them file an affidavit. As the matter requires hearing, put up on August 8,” a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed said.
The bench was hearing two separate petitions filed by nine eminent persons, including former CEC N. Gopalaswami and advocate M.L. Sharma on the issue.
The PILs allege that the Union of India has arbitrarily appointed the CAG, keeping aside all the established practices provided by the Supreme Court in its judgement relating to appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner P.J. Thomas and the appointment made in the Punjab Public Service Commission.
“This person (Shashi Kant Sharma) has got the highest degree of conflict of interest than anybody else in the country, as he happens to be the key person in all the defence procurements from 2003 till the date of his appointment as CAG,” advocate Prashant Bhushan, who is appearing for the petitioners, contended.
He also said that defence procurement deals are usually the subject matter of auditing by the highest accounting body and moreover, CBI has also registered a case in relation to one such defence deal undertaken during Mr. Sharma’s tenure as defence secretary.
The petitioners have sought a direction to the Centre to “frame a transparent selection procedure based on definite criteria and constitute a broad-based non-partisan selection committee, which after calling for applications and nominations would recommend the most suitable person for appointment as CAG”.
The PILs contend that Mr. Sharma’s appointment was made “without any system for selection, without any selection committee, any criteria, any evaluation and without any transparency”.