The tape-recorded interview of the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, V Narayanasamy, leaves no doubt about the government’s intention to make the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) a multi-member body. The CAG has reported a number of mega scams of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Moreover, the reactions of top Congress functionaries and ministers make no secret of the ruling party’s discomfiture with the way CAG Vinod Rai (pictured) has exercised his authority and fulfiled constitutional obligations of the office. Obviously, the Congress-led UPA government intends to clip the CAG’s wings and weaken it.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari – citing the example of the Election Commission (EC) – has advocated a multi-member CAG. The EC was turned into a multi-member body after T N Seshan started taking tough measures to check electoral malpractices. Yet the huge controversy that followed the appointment of Navin Chawla seen as a Congress loyalist, to the EC and the appointment of P J Thomas as central vigilance commissioner, putting aside the dissent from the leader of the Opposition suggest that the procedure for appointment of constitutional authorities should not allow the government to appoint loyalists, thus indirectly controlling on constitutional institutions. Such attempts should be resisted, and the autonomy of these institutions must be protected.
M C Joshi Lucknow
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