The provisions of the Government of India (Audit and Accounts) order, 1936 as adapted by the India (Provisional Constitution) Order, 1947 and Article 149 of the Constitution of India, have cast responsibilities on and vested powers in the Comptroller and Audit General of India in relation to the accounts of the Union and the State Governments.

The parliament passed, in 1971, the C&AG’s (DPCS) Act under Articles 148 (3) and 149 of the Constitution to regulate the duties, powers and conditions of service of the C&AG. The Act empowered the President (and the Governor of the State) to relive the C&AG of the responsibility for compiling accounts. Article 150 was also amended in 1976 and again in 1978 to empower the President to prescribe the form of the accounts, on the advice of the C&AG, even where the C&AG has been relieved of the responsibility for compiling the accounts.

Through the scheme of departmentalization of accounts of the Union Government, the C&AG was relieved, in stages from 1976, of the responsibility for maintaining the accounts of the Union. Consistent with the principle of separation of accounts from audit, the composite offices of Accountants General were bifurcated in March 1984, into distinct offices with separate cadres for dealing with (a) all audit work, and (b) all accounting and entitlement work.

The responsibilities of the Comptroller and Auditor General in so far as it relates to compilation of accounts of the Union, the States and the Union Territories with Legislatures are given in Sections 10, 11 and 12 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 which are reproduced below:-

Section 10
(1) The Comptroller and Auditor General shall be responsible-
(a) for compiling the accounts of the Union and of each State from the initial and subsidiary accounts rendered to the audit and accounts offices under his control by treasuries, offices or departments responsible for the keeping of such accounts; and
(b) for keeping such accounts in relation to any of the matters specified in clause (a) as may be necessary:

Provided that the President may, after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General, by order, relieve him from the responsibility for compiling-
(i) the said accounts of the Union (either at once or gradually by the issue of several orders); or
(ii) the accounts of any particular services or departments of the Union:

Provided further that the Governor of a State with the previous approval of the President and after consultation with Comptroller and Auditor General, by order, relieve him from the responsibility for compiling-
(i) the said accounts of the State (either at once or gradually by the issue of several orders); or
(ii) the accounts of any particular services or departments of the State.

Provided also that the President may, after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General, by order relieve him from the responsibility for keeping the accounts of any particular class or character.
(2) Where under any arrangement, a person other than the Comptroller and Auditor General has, before the commencement of this Act, been responsible-
(i) for compiling the accounts of any particular service or department of the Union or of a state, or
(ii) for keeping the accounts of any particular class or character,
Such arrangement shall, notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) continue to be in force unless, after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General, it is revoked in the case referred to in clause (i) by an order of the President or the Governor of the State, as the case may be, and in the case referred to
in clause (ii) by an order of the President.

Section 11
The Comptroller and Auditor General shall, from the accounts compiled by him or by the Government or any other person responsible in that behalf prepare in each accounts (including in the case of accounts compiled by him, appropriation accounts) showing under the respective heads the annual receipts and disbursements for the purpose of the Union, of each State and of each Union Territory having a Legislative Assembly and shall submit those accounts to the President or the Governor of a State or Administrator of the Union Territory having a Legislative Assembly, as the case may be on or before such dates as he may, with the concurrence of the Government concerned, determine.

Provided that the President may after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General, by order, relieve him from the responsibility for the preparation and submission of the accounts relating to annual receipts and disbursements for the purpose of the Union or of a Union Territory having a Legislative Assembly.

Provided further that the Governor of a State may, with the previous approval of the President and after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General, by order, relieve him from the responsibility for the preparation and submission of the accounts relating to annual receipts and disbursements for the purpose of the State.
Note: In exercise of the power conferred by the first Proviso to Section 11 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971, the President issued orders relieving the Comptroller and Auditor General from the responsibility of preparing the Finance Accounts of Union Government from 1977-78 onwards and of the Union Territory of Pondicherry from 1988-89 onwards.

The Comptroller and Auditor General, will, however, continue to be responsible for the submission of the Finance Accounts of the Union to the President for being laid before the Parliament.

Section 12
The Comptroller and Auditor General shall, in so far as the accounts for the compilation or keeping of which he is responsible, enable him to do so, give to the Union Government, to the State Governments or to the Governments of Union Territories having Legislative Assemblies, as the case may be, such information as they may, from time to time, require and render such assistance in the preparation of annual financial statements as they may reasonably ask for.

1.3 Any power exercisable by the Comptroller and Auditor General under the provisions of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 or any other law may be exercised by such Officer of his department as may be authorized by him in this behalf by general or special order. The delegation is subject to the condition that except during the absence of the Comptroller and Auditor General on leave or otherwise, no officer shall be authorized to submit on behalf of the Comptroller and Auditor General, any report which the Comptroller and Auditor General is required by the Constitution or the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 to submit to the President or the Governor of a State or the Administrator of a Union Territory having a Legislative Assembly as the case may be.

1.4 The Comptroller and Auditor General is responsible for watching the due compliance of directions issued by the President to a State which are of financial or quasi-financial character.

Duties of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department
1.5 The Accountants General and the staff of the Indian Audit & Accounts Department shall, under such special and general directions as may be given by the Comptroller and Auditor General from time to time, perform such duties and functions, as are imposed on or undertaken by him under the provisions of the Constitution, or of any law made by Parliament.

It is essential that an Accountant General should work in close co-ordination with the Government concerned. He is entitled to seek the help of the Finance Ministry/Department in cases of failure of any authority to maintain the prescribed accounts or submit them on the due dates. He may seek their assistance where necessary to secure a satisfactory settlement of outstanding objections of accounting nature.

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