Only legislature, parliament can use its report, says CAG

Only legislature, parliament can use its report, says CAG

It seems the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India cannot be used by anyone other than  parliament or the state legislature.

In its submission before the Karnataka High Court on a writ petition filed by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa on the FIRs registered against him in connection with illegal denotification of land, the CAG has placed a State government circular issued in the year 2000 stating that all its reports are confidential and that it cannot be used by any person or authority other than parliament or the State legislature.

Taking serious objection to this, the special public prosecutor for the Lokayukta police has urged the High Court to get an explanation from the CAG in this regard. The counsel for the Lokayukta police has questioned the motive and objective of placing a state government circular dated October 17, 2000, while the CAG has been uploading all its reports on the website since 2005. The CAG reports can be accessed by the public on the website, ever since the Right to Information Act came into force in 2005.

The CAG, a respondent to the writ petition, submitted that the final audit report of the CAG under Article 151 of the Constitution was submitted to the President or the Governor to be placed before parliament or the legislature. It quoted the October 17, 2000 circular, which was issued by the Finance Department in connection with a case filed in the High Court with the Accountant General as a respondent.

The circular stated, “...all the audit observations made during the course of audit by the Accountant General should be kept confidential, and it should not be cited while serving the notice and the Accountant General should not be made respondent in any court cases.”

Countering this, the Lokayukta police submitted that sensational cases such as the fodder scam in Bihar, the Commonwealth Games scam and the 2G spectrum scam were based on the CAG report.“ In 2G spectrum case, the apex court had ordered for investigation based on the CAG report along with the CVC report. All these cases have either ended in charge sheet or conviction and the CAG reports are still pending consideration in the Houses.

Though it is for parliament or assembly to decide on the CAG report, there is no prohibition in the Constitution or any other law that such report cannot be used by any person for the purpose of initiating an action,” the Lokayukta police stated in their reply.

BSY’s writ petition

BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa had filed the writ petition seeking quashing of the FIRs registered against him by the Lokayukta police. One Jayakumar Hiremath had filed a complaint with the Lokayukta based on the CAG report on the illegal de-notification of lands in Bengaluru.

The Lokayukta had referred the complaint to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for a preliminary enquiry. Based on the report submitted by the CID, the Lokayukta had referred the complaint to the Lokayukta police. The Lokayukta police have so far registered 13 FIRs against former chief ministers B S Yeddyurappa, H D Kumaraswamy and others.

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