Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG)
He is appointed by the President for a full term of 6 years or till the attainment of 65 years of age, whichever is earlier. He is the custodian of the public purse, controlling the entire financial system of the country- the Union and the States.
Duties of CAG:
- To audit the accounts of the Union and the States and submit the Report to the President or the Governor, as the case may be
- To ensure that all expenditures from the Consolidated fund of India (CFI) or States are in accordance with the law.
- To oversee that the money sanctioned by the Parliament or State Legislature is being spent for the particular purpose for which it has been issued.
- Also, to audit and report on the receipts and expenditure of the Government companies all bodies and authorities 'substantially financed' from the Union or State revenues; and
- Other corporations or bodies when so required by the laws relating to such corporations or bodies
Independence of CAG:
Since the office of the CAG is very important, to make this office independent from any control of the Executive, certain safeguards have been provided in the Constitution and also by an Act of Parliament - Comptroller and Auditor General (Conditions of Service) Act., 1971.
The CAG can be removed only on an address from both Houses of Parliament on the grounds of proved misbehavior and incapacity in a manner a judge of the Supreme Court is removed.
He is not eligible for any further appointment either under the Union or the State after his retirement. His salary and other allowances are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India and are non-votable in the Parliament.
His salary and other allowances cannot be reduced to his disadvantages after his appointment, the only exception being in the case of financial emergency.
The CAG audits the accounts of the Union and the States and submits the Report to the President who causes it to lay down before the Parliament. This report is immediately referred to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament which, after a detailed study prepares another report which is placed in the Parliament. Thus, in fact, discussion in the Parliament takes place on the secondary report of the Public Accounts Committee. Public Accounts Committee, in this process, functions in close associations with the CAG. Thus, CAG is also referred to as the friend, philosopher and guide of the PAC.
For a Comptroller and Auditor General, the authority acts functionally as an auditor only. The authority has no control over the issue of money from the Consolidated Fund of India or that from a State. The CAG is concerned only at the stage of audit after the expenditure has already taken place. CAG in India is not empowered to ensure that "the grants voted and appropriation made by Parliament are not exceeded". This is because, the authority argue, such an empowering would entail serious overhauling of the entire accounts and financial control mechanism.