CAG asks for penalty similar to RTI Act for not providing the information
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Mr. Vinod Rai made a presentation to the government wherein he has made some forceful arguements. He has claimed that the enforceability of the CAG's Right to Information (RTI) is weaker than that of an ordinary citizen under the RTI Act and the functioning of the CAG is handicapped under the current dispensation.
He has asked the Centre for powers to enforce the CAG's right to records, information and clarifications from government entities and officers in a timely manner. He said that the constitutional authorities or statutory bodies like Central Vigilance Commission, Central Information Commission and tax departments have been bestowed with powers which are far more extensive and include summoning of government officers to seek information under oath.
Mr. Rai has proposed that penalty similar to that provided under the RTI Act should be imposed for the unacceptable delay in complying with the CAG's request for records, information or clarifications.
Mr. Rai has raised the CAG's audit should cover the regulatory bodies such as Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) and Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) etc.
Referring to Article 151 of the Constitution, Mr. Rai pointed that no time frame has been prescribed regarding the placement of audit reports in Parliament and state legislatures. This has led to instances of CAG reports not being placed in Parliament or state legislatures for significantly long periods. The CAG's report cannot be discussed by the Public Accounts Committee or taken up suo-motu by the government unless the report is presented to Parliament. Mr. Rai has asked for setting strict deadlines for placing these reports in Parliament and state assemblies once they have been completed by the CAG.