Plea in SC challenges CAG’s appointment

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) A petition was moved in the Supreme Court Monday seeking the quashing of the appointment of Shashi Kant Sharma as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on the grounds of conflict of interest.

The plea alleged that as the government auditor he would be judging a number of defence deals that were concluded or cleared when he was defence secretary.

The petition was moved by a group of eminent people, who held important positions in the government and the Election Commission, who urged the apex court to direct the government to “frame a transparent selection procedure based on definite criteria” for the appointment of the CAG.

It also sought the setting up of a “broad-based, non-partisan selection committee, which after calling for applications and nominations would recommend the most suitable person for appointment as the CAG to the president”.

Former chief election commissioner N. Gopalaswami, former Naval chiefs Admirals (retd) R.H. Tahiliani and L. Ramdas, three former secretaries to the government Kamal Kant Jaswal, Ramaswamy R. Iyer and E.A.S. Sarma, among others, have moved the PIL seeking a writ of quo warranto to set aside the appointment of Sharma as CAG,

The petition, that is likely to come up for hearing July 3, says that appointment of Sharma as CAG was “arbitrary, opaque and made without any procedure and criteria”.

Sharma would be auditing various defence deals that were cleared by him.

The appointment of Sharma as the CAG is “liable to be declared non est or void as it is made arbitrarily by a procedure that does not withstand the test of constitutionality, also on the ground of conflict of interest”, the PIL said.

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