Punjab constitutes committee to monitor ‘secrecy funds’

The Punjab government on Friday told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it has constituted a four-member committee for monitoring the utilization of "secrecy funds" by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).

This was stated in the shape of an affidavit during the the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate H C Arora.

The committee comprises of four members - Secretary, School Education, as chairman, a representative of Finance Department, whose rank shall not be less than that of Additional Secretary, as member. Also, other members will be a representative of the Printing and Stationary Department, whose rank shall not be less than that of Additional Secretary and the Chairman, PSEB as Member Secretary.

It is further stated in the affidavit that Chairman, PSEB shall put up a proposal for utilization of the 'secrecy funds' for the next academic year before the committee for approval. The committee shall further probe the expenditure of the board, after the end of the academic year.

The petitioner had sought issuance of appropriate directions to the Board for evolving some satisfactory method of auditing the Secret Funds of the Chairman of the Education Board, which has gone up to 11 crores, during the year 2010-11, which was not being audited, and only utilization certificates were submitted by the Chairman of the Board at the end of the year before the auditors.

During Friday's hearing, the petitioner, who appeared in person, pointed out that under Section 19 (5) of the Punjab School Education Board Act, 2005, a categorical provision has been made that the government shall specify a agency which shall annually audit the accounts of the Board, and the audited accounts shall be put up before the State Assembly.

The PIL will now come up for hearing on December 12.

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