Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)

0
784
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), a statutory body in India, stands at the forefront of the fight against corruption in the Central Government. By addressing corruption in government and public sector organizations, the CVC plays a critical role in promoting transparency and integrity within the administrative framework. This article of NEXT IAS aims to study in detail the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), including its composition, powers, functions, challenges faced by it, and other related aspects.

  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), a statutory body in India, is the main agency for preventing corruption in the Central Government.
  • It is conceived as the apex vigilance institution, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing, and reforming their vigilance work.
  • The Headquarters of CVC is in New Delhi.
  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was established in 1964 by an Executive Resolution of the Central Government on the recommendation of the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption (1962-64).
    • Thus, originally, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body.
  • Later, it was conferred statutory status by the Central Vigilance Commission Act, (CVC Act) 2003.
    • Thus, at present, it is a Statutory Body.

The Central Vigilance Commission is a multi-member body consisting of:

  • A Central Vigilance Commissioner – as the Chairperson of the CVC, and
  • Not more than two Vigilance Commissioners (VCs).

The Central Vigilance Commissioner and other Vigilance Commissioners are appointed by the President of India by warrant under his/her hand and seal on the recommendation of a three-member Committee consisting of:

  • The Prime Minister – as the Chairperson,
  • A Union Minister of Home Affairs, and
  • The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
  • The Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Vigilance Commissioner (VCs) hold office for a term of four years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • The Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Vigilance Commissioner (VCs) are not eligible for further employment after their tenure under the Central Government or the State Government.
  • The President of India can remove the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Vigilance Commissioner (VCs) from office, under the following circumstances, if he/she:
    • Is adjudged insolvent,
    • Has been convicted of an offense which, in the opinion of the Central Government, involves moral turpitude,
    • Engages, during his/her term of office, in any paid employment outside the duties of his/her office,
    • Is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office due to infirmity of mind or body,
    • Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect his/her official functions prejudicially.
  • In addition to the above circumstances, the President can also remove the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) or any Vigilance Commissioner (VCs) on the grounds of proven misbehavior or incapacity.
    • However, in these cases, the President has to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for an inquiry.
  • If the Supreme Court, after the inquiry, upholds the cause of removal and advises so, then the President can remove him/her.
Note: The Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Vigilance Commissioner (VCs) are deemed to be guilty of misbehavior if he/she:
– is concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by the Central Government, or
– participates in any way in the profit of such contract or agreement or in any benefit or emolument arising there from otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company.
  • The salary, allowances, and other service conditions of the Central Vigilance Commissioner are similar to those of the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and that of the Vigilance Commissioner are similar to those of a member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • They cannot be varied to his/her disadvantage after his/her appointment.
  • To act as the main agency for preventing corruption in the Central Government.
  • To receive and act on complaints or disclosure on any allegation of corruption or misuse of office from whistle-blowers under the “Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers’ Resolution” (PIOPI), 2004 (“Whistle Blowers” Resolution).
  • To take action against complainants making motivated or vexatious complaints.
  • The CVC is also empowered as the only designated agency to do this,
  • To act as the apex vigilance institution, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing, and reforming their vigilance work.

The functions of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) are:

  • To inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be conducted on a reference made by the Central government wherein it is alleged that a public servant is an employee of the Central Government or its authorities has committed an offense under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • To inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be conducted into any complaint against any official belonging to the below-mentioned category of officials wherein it is alleged that he/she has committed an offense under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988:
    • Members of All-India Services (AIS) serving in the Union and Group ‘A’ officers of the Central Government; and
    • Specified level of officers of the authorities of the Central Government.
  • To exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) insofar as it relates to the investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988.
  • To give directions to the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) for superintendence insofar as it relates to the investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • To review the progress of investigations conducted by the Delhi Special Police Establishment into offenses alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • To review the progress of applications pending with the competent authorities for sanction of prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • To tender advice to the Central Government and its authorities on such matters as are referred to it by them.
  • To exercise superintendence over the vigilance administration in the ministries of the Central Government or its authorities.
  • To undertake or cause an inquiry into complaints received under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers’ Resolution and recommend appropriate action.
  • The Central Government is required to consult the CVC in making rules and regulations governing the vigilance and disciplinary matters relating to the members of Central Services and All India Services.

The jurisdiction of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) extends to the following:

  • Members of All India Services serving in connection with the affairs of the Union and Group A officers of the Central Government.
  • Officers of the rank of Scale V and above in the Public Sector Banks.
  • Officers in Grade D and above in Reserve Bank of India (RBI), National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD), and Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI).
  • Chief Executives and Executives on the Board and other officers of E-8 and above in Schedule ‘A’ and ‘B’ Public Sector Undertakings.
  • Chief Executives and Executives on the Board and other officers of E-7 and above in Schedule ‘C’ and ‘D’ Public Sector Undertakings.
  • Managers and above in General Insurance Companies.
  • Senior Divisional Managers and above in Life Insurance Corporation.
  • Officers drawing a salary of 8700/- per month (pre-revised) and above on the Central Government Dearness Allowance pattern, as may be revised from time to time, in societies and local authorities owned or controlled by the Central Government.
  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has all the powers of a Civil Court and its proceedings have a judicial character.
  • It may call for information or reports from the Central Government or its authorities to enable it to exercise general supervision over the vigilance and anti-corruption work.
  • Upon receipt of the report of the inquiry undertaken by any agency on a reference made by it, the CVC advises the Central Government or its authorities as to the further course of action.
  • The Central Government or its authorities shall consider the advice of the CVC and take appropriate action.
  • However, where the Central Government or any of its authorities do not agree with the advice of the CVC, it shall communicate the reasons to the CVC in writing.
– The CVC conducts its proceedings at its headquarters – New Delhi.
– It is vested with the power to regulate its own procedure.
  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) presents an annual report on its performance to the President.
  • The President places this report before each House of Parliament.
  • Lack of adequate autonomy and independence – Despite being conferred statutory status, the CVC still lacks complete autonomy and independence from the executive, which can undermine its effectiveness.
  • Limited jurisdiction – The CVC’s jurisdiction is limited to the central government organizations, while it has no oversight over state-level institutions, which can create gaps in its anti-corruption efforts.
  • Shortage of resources – The CVC often faces a shortage of resources, including manpower and funding, which can hinder its ability to carry out its responsibilities effectively.
  • Delay in decision-making – The CVC sometimes faces delays in decision-making on complaints and investigations, which can undermine its responsiveness and impact.
  • Lack of enforcement powers – The CVC lacks direct enforcement powers, which can limit its ability to take concrete actions against corrupt practices and hold individuals accountable.
  • Perception of political interference – There are concerns about potential political interference in the CVC’s functioning, which can raise questions about its impartiality and credibility.
  • Enhance Autonomy – To grant the CVC greater independence from government control to ensure impartiality and effectiveness in its operations.
  • Increase Resources – To allocate additional funding and staffing to the CVC to enhance its capacity to handle complaints and conduct thorough investigations.
  • Broaden Investigative Powers – To empower the CVC to independently initiate inquiries and register criminal cases against all levels of officials implicated in corruption allegations.
  • Ensure Transparent Appointments – To implement transparent and independent processes for appointing CVC officials to uphold integrity and public confidence in the institution.
  • Foster Collaboration – To strengthen coordination and collaboration between the CVC and law enforcement agencies to facilitate timely and effective action against corruption.
  • Promote Public Awareness – To conduct awareness campaigns to educate the public about the role and functions of the CVC and encourage citizen engagement in reporting corruption cases.

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) remains a cornerstone of India’s anti-corruption framework, striving to uphold ethical standards and accountability in governance. Despite facing formidable challenges, concerted efforts are needed to enhance its autonomy, augment resources, and broaden investigative powers. As India marches forward on its developmental trajectory, a robust and empowered CVC will be indispensable in safeguarding the nation’s moral and administrative fabric against the scourge of corruption.

The salient features of the Whistle Blowers Protection Act (2014) are as follows:
– It provides a mechanism for protecting the identity of whistle-blowers (a term given to people who expose corruption). People who expose corruption in Government or irregularities by public functionaries can now be free of any fear of victimization.
– The Act also provides for a system to encourage people to disclose information about corruption or the wilful misuse of power by public servants, including ministers.
– A person can make a public interest disclosure on corruption before a competent authority – which is at present the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).
– The government can appoint any other body to receive such complaints about corruption by notification.
– It lays down a punishment of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to Rs. 30000 for false or frivolous complaints.
– Every disclosure shall be made in good faith and the person making the disclosure shall provide a personal declaration stating that he/she reasonably believes that the information disclosed by him and the allegation contained therein is substantially true.
– Disclosures can be made in writing or by email message in accordance with the procedure as may be prescribed and contain full particulars and be accompanied by supporting documents, or other material.
– However, no action shall be taken on disclosure if it does not indicate the identity of the complainant or public servant or if “the identity of the complainant or public servant is found to be incorrect.”
– The Act does not apply to the Special Protection Group (SPG).
This Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) observes Vigilance Awareness Week every year during the week in which the birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (31st October) falls.

The motive of Vigilance Awareness Week is:
– To take an Integrity Pledge by all government ministries and organizations.
– To spread the word on the prevention of corruption across the nation.
– To conduct workshops and campaigns for government employees and other stakeholders on policies/procedures of the organization and preventive vigilance measures.
– To establish Integrity Clubs in schools and colleges.
– To aware Gram Sabhas to sensitize the rural citizens about the ill effects of corruption.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here