Appointment of the CAG of India requires an objective and accountable process
-Press Release from Common Cause
Common Cause, an organisation dedicated to serving public causes through democratic interventions, is shocked that the NDA government has followed exactly the same practice and procedures as the predecessor UPA government in the appointment of the new Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. The Narendra Modi government, which claims to have zero tolerance for corruption, has missed a golden opportunity to set a high benchmark to fight systemic corruption by putting in place an objective and accountable system of appointment for the crucial constitutional post.
It is important to highlight that the selection criteria should include possession of the requisite professional knowledge and background, ability of an exceptional order and impeccable integrity. This is essential for preserving the integrity and credibility of the institution of public audit. In the past, Common Cause has brought this to the attention of the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), who happen to be the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, outlining the grounds and possible mechanisms for making the process objective, transparent and accountable.
By following the footsteps of the UPA, the NDA government has lost an opportunity to create an institutional criterion to make the selection process impartial and transparent in order to fight the systemic corruption. We wish to highlight that it was possible quite simply through a combination of legislative and institutional reforms aimed at making the selection process objective, broad-based and transparent. The Prime Minister could have easily opted for an interim arrangement similar to the framework that exists for appointment to NHRC, CVC and CIC.
Established in 1980, Common Cause is known for interventions that have benefited millions of common citizens. Our PILs in coal block allocations and 2G spectrum cases transformed the way national resources are allocated in India. Besides saving serious amounts of public money, the new jurisprudence helped in building institutional integrity in governance.
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