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COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL OF INDIA


Article 148 of the constitution of India deals with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India who is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department and controls the whole financial system of the Union as well as state governments. He is one of the shield of the democratic system of our nation along with Supreme Court, Election Commission and Union Public Service Commission.

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APPOINTMENT AND TERM OF OFFICE

The CAG of India is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal. According to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule before he enters upon his office, the CAG make an oath or affirmation before the President.

I. to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established

II. to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India

III. to duly and faithfully and to the best of his ability, knowledge and judgment perform the      duties of his office without fear or favor, affection or ill-will, and

IV. to uphold the Constitution and the laws.

The term of CAG is six years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. He can resign anytime in between the term by addressing the resignation to the president. He can be expelled from office by the president in the same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court.

 

INDEPENDENCE AND SAFEGUARDS OF CAG

  • He can be removed by the president in the same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court and is also provided with the security of tenure. It implies, he can be removed only on the basis of resolution passed by both the houses with special majority to that effect, on the ground of proved misconduct or incapability.
  • The salary and other conditions of service of the CAG are determined by the parliament by law. Neither his salary nor his rights in respect of leave of absence, pension or age of retirement can be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
  • After he has ceased to hold his office, he is not eligible for further office either under the union or the state government.
  • The conditions of service of persons serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department and the administrative powers of the CAG are prescribed by rules made by the president after consultation with the CAG.
  • The administrative expenses of the office of the CAG, including all salaries, allowances and pensions payable to or in respect of pensions serving in that office are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India.

 

DUTIES AND POWERS

Article 149 of the constitution of India authorises the parliament to defie the duties and powers of the CAG relating to the accounts of the union and of the states and of any other authority or body. CAG’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) act 1971 was approved by the parliament to specify the duties and powers of the CAG and was amended in 1976.

Following are the duties and powers of the CAG:

  • He audits all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and of every state and union territory having a legislative assembly and to ascertain whether the funds as described in the accounts having been disbursed were legally available for and applicable to the service or purpose and whether the expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it
  • He audits all transactions of the union and the states relating to Contingency Funds and Public Accounts
  • He audits all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts and balance-sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept in any department of the union or of any state
  • He reports on the expenditure, transactions or accounts so audited by him
  • He audits receipts and expenditure of bodies or authorities substantially financed from union or state revenues
  • He audits and reports on the receipts and expenditure where a body or authority is substantially financed by grants or loans from the Consolidated Fund of India or of any state or of any union territory having a legislative assembly, subject to the provisions of any law in force applicable to the body or authority,
  • He audits the accounts of any authority when requested by the president or the governor of a state.
  • He advices the president about the form in which the accounts of the union and of the states shall be kept
  • He submits the audit reports of the accounts of the union to the president. The president then places this report in the parliament.
  • He submits the audit report of the accounts of a state to the governor. The governor then places this report in the state legislature.
  • He ascertains and certifies the net proceeds of any tax or duty.

EXTENT OF WORK

The CAG looks after the public money but has no control over the Consolidated funds. He ascertains that the money spent by the executive is in line with the direction of the parliament and in accordance with the established law. He is independent of the executive influence and is answerable and responsible only to the parliament.

Following reports are submitted by him to the president:

I. Audit report on appropriation accounts

II. Audit report on finance accounts

III. Audit report on public undertakings

CRITICISM

The powers of the CAG are limited to auditing of accounts and are inherited from the colonial rule. He has no control over the money being taken out of the consolidated fund. He is only an agent of the parliament and is independent only to audit the accounts after the money is spent. Unlike the CAG of Britain, he does not have power as Comptroller, but only as Auditor General. Moreover, the CAG cannot call for documents related to the expenditure incurred by the executive. On the other hand, CAG has been accused of high-handedness by the executive time and again. He has been accused of interfering in policy decisions of the executive government.

Happy Reading!!

Team Aspirant Forum

 

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