All You Need to Know About Public Accounts Committee

By Stuti Mishra|Updated : September 30th, 2020

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is the financial parliamentary committee that examine the annual audit reports of CAG which the President lays before the Parliament of India. We have come up with all the information related to Public Account Committees:

About Public Accounts Committee (PAC)

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is an oldest parliamentary committee which is constituted by the Parliament of India for the auditing of the revenue and the expenditure of the Government of India. The committee comprises of selected members of the Parliament.

Establishment: 1921 under the provision of Government of India Act of 1919

Members: It comprises of 22 members, out of which 15 belongs to Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) and 7 from Rajya Sabha (Upper House)

  • Members of PAC are elected by Parliament every year from amongst its members as per the principal of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
  • All the parties get equal opportunities in it
  • Term of members: 1 year

Chairman: Lok Sabha speaker chooses the chairman of the PAC. Untill 1966-67, chairman of PAC belonged to ruling party. However, after 1967, chairman of PAC is invariably selected from opposition party.

  • Present Chairman: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury 
  • Present Lok Sabha Speaker: Om Birla
  • PAC had been chaired by eminent Parliamentarians like- Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Jyotirmoy Basu, P.V. Narasimha Rao and R. Venkataraman.
  • Function of Chairman: To examine the audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) after it is laid in the Parliament. CAG assists the committee during the course of the investigation. The panel remains a vital entity that helps the Parliament exercise its control over the revenues and expenditures of the government.

Functions of PAC

  • CAG Reports: PAC examine annual audit reports of the Controller and Auditor General of India (CAG), which are laid by the President in the Parliament. CAG submits 3 audit reports:
    • Audit reports on appropriation accounts (Appropriation accounts compare the actual expenditure with the expenditure sanctioned by Parliament)
    • Audit reports on finance accounts (Finance accounts shows the annual receipts and disbursements of the Union Government.
    • Audit reports on public undertakings
  • PAC examines public expenditure not only from legal and formal point of view but from the point of economy, prudence, wisdom and propriety
  • It scrutinizes the audit reports of CAG to satisfy itself that:
    • Money that has been disbursed was legally available for the applied service or purpose
    • Expenditure conforms to the authority that governs it
    • Every re-appropriation has been made in accordance with the related rule
  • It examines the accounts of the following reports, made by CAG:
    • State corporations
    • Trading concerns and,
    • Manufacturing projects
  • It examines the accounts of:
    • Autonomous
    • Semi-autonomous bodies
  • It keeps a check on the funds spent on any service during a financial year. If the money is spent in excess of the amount granted by Lok Sabha for that purpose, it goes on to its report.

The committee has to convince that -

  • The expenditures were authorized by the Parliament,
  • The expenditures under any head have not crossed the limits of parliamentary authorization.
  • All the expenditure must be sanctioned by the Parliament.

Limitation of Public Account Committee

  • PAC cannot intervene in the questions of policy in a wider sense
  • It can keep a tab on the expenses only after they are incurred as it has no power to limit expenses.
  • It cannot interfere in matters of day-to-day administration.
  • The recommendation given by PAC is only advisory and not mandatory
  • It is not given with the power of disallowance of expenditures by the departments.
  • PAC is an executive body, so it cannot issue an order. Only the Parliament can take a final decision on its findings.

Important Probes of PAC

1. 2G spectrum case

  • The Public Accounts Committee probed the 2G spectrum case in 2011. On 4 April 2011, the committee summoned Ratan Tata (chairman of the Tata group) and Nira Radia regarding the scam.
  • The PAC asked Congress party members to apologized to Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) for making allegations against it.

2. Demonetization

  • On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister of Republic of India Shri Narendra Modi announced: "Notes of Rs500 and Rs 1000 will not remain a legal tender by midnight".

As a surgical strike against black money, it was highlighted in the national and international news with the criticism by some people.

But public account committee took a serious note of the move. Former Chairman of PAC, senior Congress leader K V Thomas, started probing the move wherein it decided to call RBI Governor Urjit Patel, former Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das and a decision were taken collectively by all the members of the committee.

Members of the Parliamentary Panel 2020

15 Members from Lok Sabha

  1. Present Chairman: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
  2. Thalikkottai Rajuthevar Ballu
  3. Subhash Chandra Baheria
  4. Sudheer Gupta 
  5. Darshana Vikram Jardosh           
  6. Bhartruhari Mahtab,     
  7. Ajay (Teni) Misra            
  8. Jagdambika Pal
  9. Vishnu Dayal Ram
  10. Rahul Ramesh Shewale
  11. Satya Pal Singh
  12. Rajiv Ranjan Singh          
  13. Jayant Sinha
  14. Balashowry Vallabbhaneni
  15. Ram Kripal Yadav

Members from Rajya Sabha

  1. Rajeev Gowda  
  2. Bhubaneswar Kalita       
  3. Shwait Malik     
  4. Narayan Lal Panchariya
  5. Bhupender Yadav          
  6. Sukhendu Sekhar Roy   
  7. C. M. Ramesh   


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Stuti MishraStuti MishraMember since Feb 2020
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