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The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) that contended the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was not mandated to go into policy decisions of the government to arrive at presumptive losses.

The PIL petitioner, economist Dr Rakesh Gupta contended that the CAG exceeded the brief of constitutional mandate by commenting on policy choices of the government in arriving at presumptive losses running into lakhs of crores of rupees in reports on civil aviation, the power sector and the allocation of coal blocks.

The apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Anil R. Dave said the CAG could not be constrained by mere labels of jurisdiction and could look into the efficiency and efficacy of government decisions.

The Supreme Court, while rejecting the PIL, said that if the CAG exceeds his constitutional and statutory mandate, parliament could say so while going into the audit reports.

Petitioner Rakesh Gupta, who has championed the cause of economic justice for two decades, claimed that the CAG was a constitutional auditor of the government and could not act beyond his brief.

The apex court held that the CAG was something more than an auditor of a company or corporation, and could comment on the efficacy of the government’s policy decisions.

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