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Apex court: no norms can be laid down for CAG post

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a writ petition filed by the Public Cause Research Foundation seeking a direction to lay down guidelines for appointment of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG).

Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Centre, told a Bench, consisting of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam, that the issue was discussed while framing the Constitution but no restriction was imposed on CAG appointment.

Even if some change was required in the policy, there was sufficient scope in the Constitution for accommodating it.

The Chief Justice told Kamini Jaiswal, counsel for the petitioner:

“As regards constitutional posts, we cannot lay down guidelines. They have to come through some legislation in accordance with the Constitution. There are certain procedures to be followed.

“Further, all appointments are done through a committee.

“We will not give any direction for the laying down of guidelines.”

Ms. Jaiswal said the issue required examination to keep at bay “blue-eyed boys of the government” from the post.

She said that during the pendency of the petition, the Centre had appointed Vinod Rai CAG.

The CJI said, “You are confining your argument to a particular person.”

She said that in the absence of any guideline or procedure, retiring bureaucrats with no experience of accounts and audit were getting appointed CAG.

Counsel said if a Secretary of a particular department or Ministry, like Defence or Petroleum, “takes up the post there would be a conflict of interest as he or she might have to inquire into deals that they themselves executed during their tenure.”

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