Day 29 – Q 2.How far do you agree with the statement of Dr. BR Amedkar that the CAG is the most important functionary in the Constitution? Substantiate your views.
2. How far do you agree with the statement of Dr. BR Amedkar that the CAG is the most important functionary in the Constitution? Substantiate your views.
डॉ. बी.आर. अंबेडकर के इस कथन से आप कितना सहमत हैं कि CAG संविधान का सबसे महत्वपूर्ण अलहकार है? अपने विचारों को सारगर्भित करें।
The Constitution of India (Article 148) provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department1. He is the guardian of the public purse and controls the entire financial system of the country at both the levels—the Centre and the state. His duty is to uphold the Constitution of India and laws of Parliament in the field of financial administration. This is the reason why Dr. B R Ambedkar said that the CAG shall be the most important Officer under the Constitution of India.
“I am of the opinion that this dignitary or officer is probably the most important officer in the Constitution of India. He is the one man who is going to see that the expenses voted by Parliament are not exceeded, or varied from what has been laid down by Parliament in the Appropriation Act.” —Dr. B.R Ambedkar
- Article 148 broadly deals with the CAG appointment, oath and conditions of service.
- Article 149 deals with Duties and Powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.
- Article 150 says that the accounts of the Union and of the States shall be kept in such form as the President may, on the advice of the CAG, prescribe.
- Article 151 says that the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India relating to the accounts of the Union shall be submitted to the president, who shall cause them to be laid before each House of Parliament.
- Article 279 Calculation of “net proceeds” is ascertained and certified by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, whose certificate is final.
- Third Schedule – Section IV of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of India prescribes the form of oath or affirmation to be made by the Judges of the Supreme Court and the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India at the time of assumption of office.
- According to Sixth Schedule the accounts of the District Council or Regional Council should be kept in such form as CAG, with the approval of the President, prescribe. In addition these bodies account are audited in such manner as CAG may think fit, and the reports relating to such accounts shall be submitted to the Governor who shall cause them to be laid before the Council.
CAG is the most important functionary in the Constitution.
- The role of CAG is to uphold the Constitution of India and the laws of Parliament in the field of financial administration. The accountability of the executive (i.e., council of ministers) to the Parliament in the sphere of financial administration is secured through audit reports of the CAG.
- The CAG has ‘to ascertain whether money shown in the accounts as having been disbursed was legally available for and applicable to the service or the purpose to which they have been applied or charged and whether the expenditure conforms to the authority that governs it’. In addition to this legal and regulatory audit, the CAG can also conduct the propriety audit, that is, he can look into the ‘wisdom, faithfulness and economy’ of government expenditure and comment on the wastefulness and extravagance of such expenditure.
- For effective functioning of this important institution of the CAG it is paramount to ensure independence. There are several provisions enshrined in the Constitution to safeguard CAG’s independence. CAG is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal and provided with security of tenure, CAG can be removed by the President only in accordance with the procedure mentioned in the Constitution.
The legal basis for the auditoria functions of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India is provided by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971. Although India has a federal setup, the Constitution provides for a unitary audit by the Comptroller & Auditor General, who conducts audit of the accounts of both the Union and State Governments.