215. Accounts and audit

  1. The Panchayat shall maintain such books of accounts and other books in relation to its accounts and prepare an annual statement of accounts in such form as may be prescribed.
  2. Accounts of receipts and expenditure of every Panchayat shall be maintained for every financial year in such form as may be prescribed.
  3. the Examiner of Local Fund Accounts and his nominees shall be the auditors of the Panchayat.
  4. The auditors shall conduct a continuous audit of the accounts of the Panchayat and shall after completing the audit for a year or for any shorter period or for any transaction or series of transactions, send a report to the Panchayat concerned and duplicate copies thereof to the officer authorised by the Government in this behalf.
  5. The auditors shall specify in the report under sub-section (4), all cases of irregular, illegal or improper expenditure or of failure to recover moneys or other property due to the Panchayat, or any loss or waste of money or other property thereof caused by neglect or misconduct of the officer and authorities of the Panchayat.
  6. The auditors shall also report on any other matter relating to the accounts of the Panchayats as may be required by the Government, to the officer authorised by the Government in this behalf.
  7. The Panchayat shall forthwith remedy any defect or irregularity pointed out by the auditors and report the action taken to the officer authorised by the Government in this behalf.
  8. The auditors shall in the performance of their functions under this Act have all the powers of the civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Central Act 5 of 1908) while trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely: -
    1. summoning and enforcing the attendance of any persona and examining him on oath;
    2. requiring the discovery and production of any document;
    3. receiving evidence on affidavits;
    4. requisitioning any public record or copy thereof, from any court of office; and
    5. such other matters as may be prescribed.
  9. The auditors shall, after giving a reasonable opportunity to the person concerned to explain his case, disallow every item of expenditure incurred contrary to law and surcharge the same on the person incurring, or authorising the incurring of, such expenditure and may charge against any person responsible therefore the amount of any deficiency, loss or unprofitable outlay occasioned by the negligence or misconduct of that person or of any sum which ought to have been but is not brought into account by that person and shall, in every such case certify the amount due from such person :
    Provident that no surcharge under this sub-section shall be made after a period of four years from the date on which the expenditure in question was incurred. Explanation. - It shall not be open to any person whose negligence or misconduct has caused or contributed to any such deficiency or loss, to contend that notwithstanding his negligence or misconduct the deficiency or loss would not have occurred, but for the negligence or misconduct of some other person.
  10. The auditors shall state in writing, the reasons for their decision in respect of every disallowance, surcharge or charge and a copy of such decision shall be served on the person against whom it is made in the manner laid down for the service of summons in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Central Act 5 of 1908).
  11. Any person aggrieved by any disallowance, surcharge or charge may, within fourteen days after the date of service on him of the decision of the auditor, make an application to the district court to set aside such disallowance, surcharge or charge and the court, after taking such evidence as is necessary may confirm, modify or remit such disallowance, surcharge or charge with such orders as to costs as it may think proper in
    the circumstances.
  12. Where an application is made to the court under sub-section (11) the auditors shall be the sole respondents thereto and the applicant shall not make either the Government or any other person a party to the proceedings.
  13. From the decision of the district court under sub-section (11) an appeal shall lie to the High Court.
  14. Every sum certified by the auditors to be due from a person under this Act shall be paid by such person to the Secretary of the Panchayat concerned within thirty days after the date of service on him of the decision of the auditors unless within that time such person has made an application to the court against the decision; and such sum, if not so paid, or such sum as the court declares to be due shall be recoverable as if it were an arrear of land revenue.
  15. An abstract of every annual report of a panchayat as certified by the auditor showing its income under each head of receipt, the charges for the establishment, works undertaken, the sum expended on each work the balance, if any, remaining unexpended together with the audit report thereon shall be submitted to the officer authorised by the government in this behalf not later than fifteenth day of the second month of the next financial year.
  16. On receipt of the report referred to in sub-section (15), the Officer shall forthwith consolidate the report and submit it to the Government.
  17. The government shall –
    1. cause the accounts of the Panchayat together with the audit report thereon received by it under sub-section (16) to be laid before the Legislative Assembly; and
    2. cause the accounts of the Panchayat to be published in such manner as may be prescribed.