Constitution of India

Article 149 – Duties and powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General.

The Constitution of India is the fountainhead from which all our laws derive their authority and force. This is next Article in the series on constitutional provisions in order to aid our readers in understanding them.


149. Duties and powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General.—The Comptroller and Auditor-General shall perform such duties and exercise such powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and of the States and of any other authority or body as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, shall perform such duties and exercise such powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and of the States as were conferred on or exercisable by the Auditor-General of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution in relation to the accounts of the Dominion of India and of the Provinces respectively.

The Constitution of India only laid down the law in regard to the Duties and Powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General at the commencement of the Constitution. It did not provide for his duties and powers. Article 149 left it to Parliament to determine the duties and powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General by law.

Entry 76 in the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution provided for the Union Parliament having legislative power in the matter of: “Audit of the accounts of the Union and of the States.”

Chapter III of The Comptroller and Auditor-General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 (Act 58 of 1971) provides for the duties and powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General.

The duty of Comptroller and Auditor-General is not merely of audit but also exercising control over Government’s spending. The task of ensuring that the expenditure conforms to sanctions is specifically placed in the hands of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. However, these vast powers do not entitle the Comptroller and Auditor-General to question the merit of the policy objectives.

The Comptroller and Auditor-General can issue necessary departmental instructions on matters of conditions of service, discipline etc. of persons serving in his department. These have only to be in conformity with the Rules made by the President under article 148(5).

The Constitution has not clearly laid down the powers, functions and duties of Comptroller and Auditor-General in regard to the accounts of the Union and the States and of any other body (articles 149 and 150). It is left to Parliament to determine them by law. The form in which the accounts of the Union and of the States are to be maintained is to be determined by the President on the advice of the Comptroller and Auditor‑General.

Source: Dr Subhash C Kashyap, Constitutional Law of India

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