C&AG of India: An Instrument to Enhance Accountability, Probity and Good Governance

Date01 September 2018
Published date01 September 2018
Subject MatterArticles
Indian Journal of Public
© 2018 IIPA
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0019556118780111
C&AG of India:
An Instrument to Enhance
Accountability, Probity and
Good Governance
Ram Naresh Sharma1
Shashi Bhushan Kumar2
The Institution of Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) of India is a
constitutional regulatory authority to assist central and state legislatures by
submitting timely performance and compliance audit of the expenditure made
by the concerned governments, examining whether the funds earmarked and
approved for the purposes by the legislature have been utilised properly. It is
an essential instrument to enforce accountability of executive to legislature by
presenting fair and proper audit so that any fraud and embezzlement can be
detected, and thereby probity and good governance can be ensured. This is
possible only when the appointment of the C&AG will be made by constitution-
ally and legally fixed proper criteria to ensure its impartiality and independence
from the executive and legislature, with certain degree of accountability to the
Performance audit, social audit, accountability, probity, good governance
The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) of India as the guard-
ian of national finance is an essential instrument for enforcing accountability of
executive to Parliament. B.R. Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee
1 Former Head, Department of Political Science, Jayaprakash University, Chapra, Bihar, India.
2 Associate Professor, PG Department of Political Science, R. N. College, Hajipur, Bihar, India.
Corresponding author:
Ram Naresh Sharma, Former Head, Department of Political Science, Jayaprakash University, Chapra,
Bihar, India.
E-mail: sharmaramnaresh0@gmail.com
Sharma and Kumar 455
of the Constituent Assembly, felt the need to categorically say during its debates
about the importance of the office of the C&AG:
This dignitary or officer is probably the most important officer in the Constitution of
India … and his duties … are far more important than the duties even of the judiciary—
he should have been certainly as independent as the judiciary.1
The C&AG of India is a constitutional regulatory authority, established under the
provisions enshrined in Articles running from 148 to 151 of Part V, Chapter V/
Sub-part 7B of the Indian Constitution, which defines the basic structure of the
supreme auditor of India. The C&AG audits all receipts and expenditures of the
government of India and of the state governments, including those of bodies and
authorities substantially financed by the government. He is also the external auditor
of government-owned corporations and conducts supplementary audit of govern-
ment companies, that is, any non-banking/non-insurance companies in which
union government has an equity share of at least 51 per cent or subsidiary compa-
nies of existing government companies. The reports of the C&AG are taken into
consideration by the Public Accounts Committees (PACs) and Committees on
Public Undertakings (COPUs), which are special committees in the Parliament of
India and by its counterparts in the state legislatures. He is also the head of the
Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IA&AD) and in that capacity he is ranked
9th and enjoys the same status as a judge of the Supreme Court (SC) of India in
order of precedence.
Article 148 of the Constitution provides for a C&AG with the security of service
of a SC judge. He is appointed by the President of India on the recommendation
of the Prime Minister and is sworn in before the former under Article 148(3) to
bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established,
and uphold the sovereignty and integrity of the nation, and again the Constitution
and the laws. He is also sworn in to perform the duties of his office without fear or
favour, affection or ill-will duly and faithfully and to the best of his ability, knowl-
edge and judgement. He is ineligible, by Article 148(4), for further office under
the government (i.e., rank of a secretary and below) after retiring as C&AG. To
preserve his independence, the C&AG’s expenses are charged (without a parlia-
mentary vote) to the Consolidated Fund of India. He can be removed from office
only under Article 124(4).
The C&AG’s terms and conditions of service have been determined by
Parliament in terms of Article 149 of the Constitution. The legislation is called the
CAG’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 (DPC Act).2 Section
16 of this Act states that it shall be the duty of the C&AG to audit all receipts
which are payable into the Consolidated Fund of India. The rules and procedures
are designed to ensure an effective check on the assessment, collection and proper
allocation of revenue. The Act also states that it shall be the duty of the C&AG
to audit all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India. The observation
of Rajendra Prasad, the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly and subsequently
the first President of India, deserves mention here in this connection; he said that
the C&AG ‘has the power to call to account any officer, however highly placed,
so far as State money is concerned’ (Mathur, 2012). The observations of

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