CAG has not fulfilled Constitutional expectations: Moily

Government on Monday expressed dissatisfaction over the working of the Comptroller and Auditor General, saying their timely intervention could have prevented many scams and scandals.

Updated: Sep 13, 2010, 14:39 PM IST

New Delhi: Government on Monday expressed dissatisfaction over the working of the Comptroller and Auditor General, saying their timely intervention could have prevented many scams and scandals.

"Scandals and scams are known even when they are being planned and executed. If audit draws attention to them forthwith in a well published manner, such scandals can be
halted mid-stride. Postmortems are good but they can be conducted only when a patient is dead," Law Minister Veerappa Moily said at the 5th annual convention of Central Information Commission here.

Moily said the institution of Comptroller and Auditor General, a Constitutional body itself designed to be a bulwark against omission and commissions of the Executive under the supervision of the Legislature has not fulfilled for what it was conceptualised by the Constitution makers.

"...But the way the institution has functioned has not exactly fulfilled what the Indian Constitution makers had in mind while creating the institution. Though it does not carry
any independent clout, observation of audit carries no disagreeable consequences either," the minister said.

Moily also took the opportunity to criticise bureaucrats who retire from service and make "discrediting" remarks about the country when they were abroad.

"When few top officials who could have made a difference in office... having failed to do so, become saints after retirement. When I was abroad recently, I came across the
comments of a retired bureaucrat who said in a media interview that every third Indian is corrupt," he said.

Terming such remarks as "travesty of truth", Moily, without naming the senior retired official, said, "No one has the right to discredit our nation".

He urged Department of Personnel and Training authorities to look into such "frustrated statements" made by the former civil servant.

Expressing concern over the killing of RTI activists across the country, he said such acts should be dealt with "iron hands".

Moily said, "The RTI should not become the casualty of corrupt bureaucrats and others. It is quite disturbing to hear the threat administered to RTI activists."

"There are instances of attacks on RTI activists. Some of them are Amti Jethwa, an environmentalist from Gujarat and Satish Shetty, an activist from Maharashtra have been killed. These attacks and killings have to be taken seriously, dealt with iron hands," the Law Minister said.

Later speaking to a news agency on the sideline of the function, he said, "If any law is necessary, we will definitely use but law administering authorities in the respective states will have to deal with this strictly and severely."

He said in his address that the Whistle blowers` Bill giving protection to civil servants and raising issues of corruption has been finalised and will become a law during coming Winter Session of Parliament.

Moily said the proactive disclosure of records will help in reducing number of RTI applications filed before the public authorities but such disclosures despite mandated in the RTI Act are "often perfunctory and lack substance".

"This underscores need for devising protocols and effective monitoring of suo-moto disclosures," he said.

The minister expressed dissatisfaction over the record keeping in the country especially the land records calling them "weakest link in our information system".

PTI