No need to change CAG appointment process, Manmohan tells CPI MP

Express news service Posted: Nov 14, 2012 at 0140 hrs
New Delhi Holding the view that the Opposition already plays a definite role in the scrutiny of CAG reports through the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rejected demands from a section of the Opposition to broad-base the process of appointment of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

The Prime Minister made his views known in a letter to CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta last week, where he maintained that there was no “urgent need” to change the process of appointment of the CAG.

In the backdrop of the controversy over damning CAG reports on the 2G spectrum issue, Commonwealth Games and coal block allocations and the perception of a standoff between the CAG and the government, Dasgupta had written to Singh three months back suggesting that the process of appointment be changed with a collegium including the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India making the appointment. He had also suggested that a similar process be followed for the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and ECs.

The Prime Minister, however, also rejected the demand for change in the process of appointment of CEC and ECs, writing to Dasgupta that the procedures for appointment to these constitutional posts have been in existence for a long time and were followed by earlier governments too.

In his letter, though, the Prime Minister maintained that the government was open to discussing the possibility of changing the process of appointment in a proper forum, namely as part of electoral reforms. “Any change in the procedure. would require wide ranging discussions with other political parties. This, if necessary, can be taken up as a part of the agenda for electoral reforms,” he wrote.

The Prime Minister maintained that CAG reports were examined by the parliamentary PAC chaired by an Opposition party member, implying that the Opposition played an ample role in acting as a watchdog while scrutinising the CAG’s reports. “The chairman of the PAC has traditionally been a member of the main Opposition party. In view of this, there does not seem to be any urgent need to set up a committee for appointment of CAG,” he said.

Dasgupta told The Indian Express this evening that he was not satisfied with the response of the Prime Minister and would raise the issue in the coming winter session of Parliament along with other Opposition parties.