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Top court refuses to entertain PIL challenging appointment of CAG

The apex court on Monday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking appointment of Shashi Kant Sharma as new Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India as void. The PIL challenged Sharma's appointment on various grounds that it arbitrary, opaque and made without any procedure and criteria and conflict of interest.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir asked the petitioners which included former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami, former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral (retd) R H Tahiliani, former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral (retd) L Ramdas, former Deputy CAG B P Mathur, Kamal Kant Jaswal, Ramaswamy R Iyer, E A S Sarma, all former secretaries of various government ministries, former Indian Audits and Accounts Service officer S Krishnan and former IAS officer M G Devasahayam, to approach the high court which is equally equipped to deal with the matter.

The petition said that appointment of Sharma as 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 and also on the ground of conflict of interest, and ‘Nemo judex in causa sua’, i.e. No person shall be a judge in his own cause.

The PIL said that before being appointed as the CAG, Sharma had served in key position in the Ministry of Defence that involved decision-making powers over purchases running into tens of lakhs of crores of rupees. It said that during his tenure as the DG (Acquisitions) or as the defence secretary, Sharma cleared several major defence purchases some of which have turned out to be a source of embarrassment to the cente.
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