New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday came out in support of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), saying that the body is not just a "munim" (accountant). "The CAG shouldn't be just preparing balancesheet of government accounts. It is the duty of the CAG to look into efficient use of resources," said the apex court during the hearing of a public interest litigation challenging the CAG audit related to coal blocks allocation.
The bench of justices RM Lodha and AR Dave while dismissing the plea challenging the CAG's power to conduct performance audit of controversial allocation of coal blocks by the Congress-led UPA Government said that if the CAG has exceeded its brief then it's for Parliament to take a call. The bench said the CAG is a constitutional authority entitled to review and conduct performance audit on revenue allocations relating to the Centre, the states and the Union territories.
"The CAG is not a munim. He is a constitutional authority who can examine the revenue allocation and matters relating to the economy," the bench told counsel Santosh Paul, who appeared for petitioner Arvind Gupta.
The apex court said it was for the Parliament to consider, accept or reject the CAG's findings. Interpreting various provisions of the Constitution, the bench said the CAG is a constitutional authority who is under a mandate to place before Parliament or the state legislature concerned its findings and, hence, it was for the respective legislatures to act upon such reports.
The observations assume significance as the CAG has been instrumental in bringing out the massive corruption in coal blocks allocation and 2G spectrum.
(With additional information from PTI)