The Delhi High Court issued a directive on Tuesday, instructing the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to promptly conduct an audit of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) accounts spanning from 2018 to 2021.
This direction from the high court came as it concluded the proceedings of a petition requesting the CAG to audit the DJB’s accounts, which allegedly hadn’t undergone financial scrutiny for several years.
During the court session, the CAG’s counsel informed that they had received the annual account statements from DJB for the fiscal years 2018-19 to 2020-21 and were currently in the process of auditing these accounts.
Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P S Arora, presiding over the bench, stated, “In view of the statement, the writ petition is closed with a direction to the CAG to audit the accounts of DJB as expeditiously as possible in accordance with the law.”
The petition was initiated by Delhi BJP leader Harish Khurana, seeking a mandate for DJB to maintain accurate accounts and pertinent records, preparing annual profit and loss statements with proper balance sheets from 2015 onwards, as mandated by law, and directing the CAG to carry out an audit of the board.
In response, DJB asserted that it was diligently working towards ensuring the meticulous preparation and audit of all final statements and balance sheets in the interest of transparency and legal compliance. The board labeled the petition as “politically motivated,” dismissing the allegations as baseless and frivolous.
CAG also clarified to the high court that any delay in conducting the audit wasn’t due to negligence on its part but rather because the accounts necessary for auditing hadn’t been provided. The CAG highlighted its efforts in requesting the accounts for audit from DJB and the Delhi government, but due to non-availability of accounts, the audit process couldn’t proceed.
The petition cited responses to RTI queries indicating that the balance sheets for the years 2015-16 and onward were in the process of preparation. It emphasized that due to the authorities’ failure to fulfill their legal obligations, resorting to court intervention was necessary.
The plea underscored the imperative nature of maintaining financial accounts and conducting annual audits to ensure the effective and transparent functioning of state and local bodies. It argued that such practices were vital for securing accountability and transparency in governance, particularly concerning the utilisation of public funds.
(With PTI inputs)