The Delhi High Court today refused to quash the appointment of Shashi Kant Sharma as Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), saying no material has been brought on record to substantiate the plea questioning the "integrity" and "competence" of the CAG. "Thus, neither on integrity nor on competence, is there any material to substantiate the plea of the petitioners that the respondent No. 2 (CAG) was not eligible for appointment as the CAG," a bench of justices B D Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru said.
The bench, in its 74-page judgement, considered the fact that there was no criminal case against the CAG and moreover, no "disciplinary proceeding" is pending against him. "There is no disciplinary proceeding pending against him. There is no criminal case pending against him. There is only a supposition on the part of the petitioners that as he had dealt with defence procurements in his various capacities in the past, there might be a conflict of interest when he prepares audit reports in respect of the defence procurements.
"This is merely a surmise, conjecture and presumption on the part of the petitioners insofar as the audit report in respect of purchase of helicopters is concerned," it said.
It dismissed two separate PILs, filed by former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami and eight other eminent persons and by advocate M L Sharma in personal capacity.
It said Sharma, a 61-year-old 1976-batch Bihar cadre IAS officer, has an unblemished service record and his "appointment does not violate the principles of institutional integrity nor was the appointment arbitrary".
"There is nothing on record to suggest that respondent 2 (Sharma) does not have a comprehensive knowledge of the entire administration. As pointed out by the Centre, he has had about four decades of administrative experience in different departments of the Government.
"He has had an unblemished record and, therefore, the integrity aspect cannot also be doubted. Thus, neither on integrity nor on competence, is there any material to substantiate the plea of the petitioners that respondent 2 was not eligible for appointment as CAG," the bench said.