Context

  • Central Vigilance Commission is the main agency for preventing corruption in the Central government

  • established in 1964 by an executive resolution
  • establishment was recommended by the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption
  • Originally neither a constitutional body nor a
    statutory body but later Parliament enacted a law
    conferring statutory status in 2003
  • The CVC is not controlled by any Ministry/Department. It is an independent body which is only responsible to the Parliament.
  • designated as the agency 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” (PIDPI), which is popularly known as “Whistle Blowers” Resolution.
  • designated agency to take action against complainants
    making motivated or vexatious complaints

Composition of Central Vigilance Commission

  • Central Vigilance Commissioner (Chairperson)
  • Not more than 2 Vigilance Commissioners (Members)

Appointment

  • President by warrant under his hand and seal on the recommendation of:
    • Prime minister as its head
    • Union minister of home affairs
    • Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha

Tenure

  • 04 Year or 65 Yrs whichever is earlier
  • not eligible for further employment under Central /State Govt.

Removal: President can remove under:

  • adjudged an insolvent
  • convicted of an offence (moral turpitude-opinionof the President)
  • engages in office of profit outside his office
  • unfit to continue (opinion of Prez)
  • acquired such financial or other interest
  • mis-behaviour or incapacity (Prez has to refer it to SC for enquiry)

Note: Salary, allowances and other conditions of service of the Central Vigilance Commissioner are similar to those of the Chairman of UPSC and vigilance commissioner are similar to those of a member of UPSC. Cannot be varied.

Functions

  • inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation reference made by the Central government
  • below mentioned category of officials has committed an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
    • Members of all-India services (G-A)
    • Specified level of officers of Central Govt.
  • exercise superintendence over the functioning, give directions, review progress of/ to the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
  • tender advise to the Central government
  • Central Govt. may consult CVC making rules and regulations governing the vigilance and disciplinary matters
  • notified as a specific authority to receive information relating to suspicious transactions

Appointment of Director of Enforcement

  • Appointed on recommendations of Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is the Chairperson and the two Vigilance Commissioners along with Secretaries of M/o Home Affairs, D/o Personnel and Training and the D/o Revenue in M/o Finance are the Members of the Selection Committees.

Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (2013) amended both the CVC Act (2003) and the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (1946) and made the following changes:

  • Director of Prosecution under the Directorate of Prosecution in CBI shall be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission.
  • Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is the Chairperson and the two Vigilance Commissioners along with Secretaries of M/o Home Affairs and D/o Personnel and Training are the Members of the Selection Committees, on whose recommendation the Central Government appoints officers to the posts of the level of SP and above in the CBI except Director of CBI.
  • Commission has been empowered to conduct preliminary inquiry into complaints referred by Lokpal in respect of officers and officials of Groups A, B, C & D, for which a Directorate of Inquiry for making preliminary inquiry is to be set up in the Commission.

Jurisdiction

  1. Members of All India Services serving in connection with the affairs of the Union and Group A officers of the Central Government.
  2. Officers of the rank of Scale V and above in the Public Sector Banks.
  3. Officers in Grade D and above in Reserve Bank of India, NABARD and SIDBI.
  4. Chief Executives and Executives on the Board and other officers of E-8 and above in Schedule ‘A’ and ‘B’ Public Sector Undertakings.
  5. Chief Executives and Executives on the Board and other officers of E-7 and above in Schedule ‘C’ and ‘D’ Public Sector Undertakings.
  6. Managers and above in General Insurance Companies.
  7. Senior Divisional Managers and above in Life Insurance Corporation.
  8. Officers drawing salary of ₹8700/- per month (pre-revised) and above on Central Government D.A. pattern, as may be revised from time to time, in societies and local authorities owned or controlled by the Central Government.

Working of the Central Vigilance Commission

  • Q-Delhi
  • power to regulate its own procedure
  • civil court and its proceedings have a judicial character
  • advises the Central government or its authorities for further course of action on any inquiry (If disagreed by Central Govt. communicate the reasons to be recorded in writing to CVC)
  • present annually to the President which will be placed before both the houses

Limitations

  • CVC is only an advisory body. Central Government Departments are free to either accept or reject CVC’s advice in corruption cases.
  • CVC does not have adequate resources compared with number of complaints that it receives. It is a very small set up with a sanctioned staff strength of 299.
  • Whereas, it is supposed to check corruption in more than 1500 central government departments and ministries.
  • CVC cannot direct CBI to initiate inquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above on its own. Such a permission has to be obtained from the concerned department. However, this provision is declared unconstitutional by Supreme court in a 2014 judgement in case filed by Subramaniam Swamy. Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in its judgement stated that merely the post of a person cannot keep him above the law, stating the provision in CBI section 6 is violative of fundamental right Article 14.
  • CVC does not have powers to register criminal case.
  • It deals only with vigilance or disciplinary cases.
  • CVC has supervisory powers over CBI. However, CVC does not have the power to call for any file from CBI or to direct CBI to investigate any case in a particular manner. CBI is under administrative control of Department of Personnel and Training(DoPT), which means that, the powers to appoint, transfer, suspend CBI officers lie with DoPT.
  • Appointments to CVC are indirectly under the control of Govt of India, though the leader of the Opposition (in Lok Sabha) is a member of the committee to select CVC and VCs. But the Committee considers candidates put up before it. These candidates are decided by the Government

Initiatives

  • The following initiatives have been taken by CVC:- 1. National Anticorruption Strategy 2. Leveraging Technology to Prevent Corruption 3. Integrity in Public procurement 4. Awareness Campaign 5. Provision for Whistle Blowers 6. Improving the Standard of Vigilance Work 7. Computerization of Commission’s Work 8. Modern Preventive Vigilance Framework 9. International Cooperation. Etc.

Controversies

  • Supreme court quashes appointment of CVC (PJ Thomas)
  • Whistleblower protection
  • Petition against appointment of K V Chowdary

Vigilance Awareness Week

  • Vigilance Awareness Week (VAW)  is being celebrated every year during the last week of October and coincides with the birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, known to be a man of high integrity.

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