Constitution of India

Article 150 – Form of accounts of the Union and of the States.

150. Form of accounts of the Union and of the States.—The accounts of the Union and of the States shall be kept in such form as the President may, on the advice of] the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, prescribe.

Article 150 as it came out of the Constituent Assembly, provided for the C&AG giving directions to the Union and the States in regard to the form in which accounts ought to be maintained. The directions of C&AG were only subject to President’s approval.

The Forty-second Amendment passed during the Emergency period, reversed the position inasmuch as the President that is the Union Government itself was empowered to decide the form in which the accounts of the Union and the States were to be kept. The use of the words “after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor-General” meant that C&AG was only required to be “consulted”.

The Forty-fourth Amendment enacted in the post-emergency era, practically restored the pre-emergency provision by providing that the President’s decision would be on the advice of the C&AG.

Article 202 must be read with articles 149 and 150. The Budget and the Annual Financial Statement must give such particulars of the receipts and expenditure as would be necessary to satisfy the requirements of the Comptroller and Auditor-General for maintaining the accounts. The receipts and the expenditure must be classified in the Budget in the way indicated in the list of Major Heads of Accounts. Failure to do so will amount to a non-compliance with articles 149 and 150 which are as much binding on the State Government and the Legislature as any other provision in the Constitution bearing on the powers of the Government and the Legislature. The rule that the Budget must follow the pattern of the List of Major and Minor Heads does not, however, imply that separate grant must be made in respect of each head of the account comprised in the Budget or that money expendable under each head of account prescribed by the List must be sought in a single demand. Rule 109(1) of the Assembly Rules ordinarily requires that separate demand should be made for each department of the Government but permits the Finance Minister to include in one demand grants for two or more departments.

The direction given by rule 29 in the Account Code to a Government to put any amount demanded by them in its appropriate classification is not of a mandatory character. Therefore, even assuming that certain amount ought to have been put under the head “Discretionary Grants” and not under “Miscellaneous”, the error or breach committed by the Government cannot result in a contravention of articles 149 and 150 of the Constitution. It only amounts to an irregularity. Such an irregularity cannot render the whole or part of the grant void.

Source: Subhash C Kashyap, Constitutional Law of India

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