Supreme Court refuses to quash CAG appointment

The hearing saw the Bench observe that there was no reason Mr. Shashi Kant Sharma should “suffer disqualification.”

The hearing saw the Bench observe that there was no reason Mr. Shashi Kant Sharma should “suffer disqualification.”

Noting that “there is nothing against the man,” the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation petition to quash the appointment of 1976 batch Bihar cadre IAS officer and former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma as Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu observed that the court should not react to every sound of alarm and “meddle” in constitutional appointments.

The PIL was filed on behalf of the former Chief Election Commissioner, N. Gopalaswami; former Chiefs of the Naval Staff Admiral (retd.) R.H. Tahiliani and Admiral (retd.) L. Ramdas; former Deputy CAG B.P. Mathur; and five other retired bureaucrats.

The petition, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, alleged that as DG (Acquisitions) or as the Defence Secretary, Mr. Sharma had cleared several major defence purchases, some of which had turned out to be a source of embarrassment to the Centre.

Appearing for the Centre, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi countered that under the Constitution, it was the Executive’s prerogative to recommend the name of the CAG to the President. Mr. Rohatgi said the court could not interfere in this constitutional process.

In response, the Bench pointed to Mr. Bhushan’s contention that the Supreme Court should intervene, as it did to free judicial appointments from Executive interference by setting up the Collegium system, to provide transparency in CAG appointments too.

At this, Mr. Rohatgi countered that the interpretation of the Constitution in the Second Judges case in 1992 creating the collegium system for appointment of judges was incorrect.

The Bench observed that there was no reason Mr. Sharma should “suffer disqualification.” It declined to pass any order on the submission that guidelines be laid down for the selection process.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 6:47:48 pm |