SC notice to Centre, States on excess spending

NEW DELHI OCT. 13. The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre and 27 State governments and the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India on a public interest petition expressing serious concern over the spending spree by the Centre and the States to the tune of Rs. 1,91,554 crores without getting approval from Parliament and the State Legislatures.

A Bench, comprising Justices P. Venkatarama Reddi and A.R. Lakshmanan, issued the notice on the petition filed by the former MP and former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Era Sezhian, after hearing senior counsel, K. Subramanian, who said the petition raised important questions of law requiring consideration.

The petitioner said there was a growing tendency on the part of the Centre and the State governments to incur expenditure in excess of budgetary grants and leave it unregularised for years.

This, he said, constituted financial anarchy and a repudiation of the Executive's accountability to Parliament and the Legislatures.

The petitioner drew the attention of the court to a report submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor-General on April 22 stating that a sum of Rs. 1,91,554 crores had been spent by the Centre and the States in violation of Articles 115(1)(b) and 205(1)(b) (providing for approval by Parliament and Legislatures for excess spending).

He said it was shocking to note that the various State Assemblies and their committees had allowed excess spending, running to several thousands of crores of rupees, to remain unregularised for over 10 to 20 years. And there was no time limit prescribed in the Constitution or in the Rules for regularisation of excess expenditure, he said.

He sought a direction to the Centre and the States to lay before both the Houses of Parliament and the State Legislatures a demand for excess expenditure incurred by them as found in the CAG's report for the year ended March 2002.

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