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Top court clears air on CAG

New Delhi, Oct. 1: The Supreme Court today threw out a plea challenging the CAG’s powers to conduct performance audit of controversial allocations of coal blocks by the government, saying the auditor was “not a munimji” (accountant).

A bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and A.R. Dave said the comptroller and auditor general was a constitutional authority. “The CAG is not a munimji. He is a constitutional authority who can examine the revenue allocation and matters relating to the economy,” the bench said.

The court said the CAG was under a mandate to place its findings before Parliament or legislatures and it was for the legislatures to accept or reject such reports.

The observation came on a day the Congress asked the CAG “to function within the limits of its mandate”, drawing on the court’s opinion last week that auctions were not the only permissible method of disposal of natural resources.

Asked what he meant by limits, spokesperson Manish Tewari said “the CAG can’t calculate presumptive losses by extrapolating its own policy prescriptions over the government’s decisions”.