No decision can be based solely on CAG report: SC

New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday said a report from the CAG – a constitutional functionary – commands respect but it could not be solely relied upon for deciding any contentious issue.

“We may, however, point out that since the report is from a constitutional functionary, it commands respect and cannot be brushed aside as such, but it is equally important to examine the comments what respective ministries have to offer on the CAG’s report,” said the apex court bench of Justice K. Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra while dismissing a public interest litigation (PIL).

Petitioner economist Arun Kumar Agrawal wanted the court to declare void the Jan 24, 2012 government approval of the Cairn Energy-Vedanta deal wherein Vednata acquired 41 percent share of Cairn India in its Rajasthan oil blocks.

“The ministry can always point out, if there is any mistake in the CAG’s report or the CAG has inappropriately appreciated the various issues,” the court said.

“The CAG indisputably is an independent constitutional functionary, however, it is for parliament to decide whether after receiving the report i.e. PAC (Public Accounts Committee)to make its comments on the CAG’s report,” Justice Radhakrishnan said.

The petitioner sought direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged irregular extension of time given to Carin Energy by the petroleum ministry for exploration of oil when it was fully aware that the area had billions of dollars of oil as was already highlighted in a report of the CAG.

“The question is … whether this court can grant relief merely placing reliance on the CAG’s report,” the court said.

“The CAG’s report is always subject to parliamentary debates and it is possible that PAC can accept the ministry’s objection to the CAG report or reject the report of the CAG,” the court said.

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