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CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION

  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is the main agency for preventing corruption in the Central government. It was established in 1964 by an executive resolution of the Central government. Its establishment was recommended by the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption (1962-64).
  • Thus, originally the CVC was neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body. Later, in 2003, the Parliament enacted a law conferring statutory status on the CVC.
  • Central Vigilance Commission is the apex vigilance institution, free of control from any executive authority, 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.
  • Vigilance means to ensure clean and prompt administrative action towards achieving efficiency and effectiveness of the employees in particular and the organization in general, as lack of Vigilance leans to waste, losses and economic decline.
  • The CVC was set up by the Government in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam. In 2003, the Parliament enacted CVC Act conferring statutory status on the CVC.
  • The CVC is not controlled by any Minis try/Department. It is an independent body which is only responsible to the Parliament.

Functions
(i) The CVC receives complaints on corruption or misuse of office and to recommend appropriate action.
Following institutions, bodies, or a person can approach to CVC: Central government, Lokpal, Whistle blowers(A whistleblower is a person, who could be an employee of a company, or a government agency, or an outsider)

(ii) It is not an investigating agency. The CVC either gets the investigation done through the CBI or through chief vigilance officers (CVO) in government offices.

(iii) It is empowered to inquire into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by certain categories of public servants.

(iv) Its annual report gives the details of the work done by the commission and points to systemic failures which lead to corruption in government departments.

  • Improvements and preventive measures are also suggested in report.

History
(i) The Special Police Establishment (SPE) which was set up in 1941 by the Government of India.

  • The functions of the SPE then were to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with the War & Supply Department of India during World War II.

(ii) By 1963, the SPE was authorised to investigate offences under 91 different sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 16 other Central Acts besides offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947.

(iii) On the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was established by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs on April 1, 1963.

(iv) In 1964, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was set up by the Government on the recommendations of Santhanam Committee, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance.

(v) The Supreme Court in the judgement of Vineet Narain & Others vs. Union of India (1997), gave directions regarding the superior role of CVC.

(vi) The Supreme Court in a Writ Petition filed after the murder of Shri Satyendra Dubey in 2003, a whistle-blower, directed that a machinery be put in place for acting on complaints from whistle-blowers till a law is enacted.

(a) In pursuance of that direction, the Government of India notified the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers Resolution (PIDPI), 2004:

  • This Resolution is popularly known as “Whistle Blowers” Resolution and it designated the Central Vigilance Commission as the agency to receive and act on complaints or disclosure on any allegation of corruption or misuse of office from whistle blowers.

(vii) Through subsequent ordinances and legislations the Government has added to the functions and powers of the Commission.

(viii) In 2013, the Parliament enacted the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

  • This act has amended CVC Act, 2003 whereby the Commission has been empowered to conduct preliminary inquiry and further investigation into complaints referred by the Lokpal.

Governance
The Central Vigilance Commission has its own Secretariat, Chief Technical Examiners' Wing (CTE) and a wing of Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries (CDI). For investigation work, CVC has to depend on two external sources CBI and Chief Vigilance Officers (CVO).

The Central Vigilance Commission
Multi-member Commission consists of a Central Vigilance Commissioner (Chairperson) and not more than two Vigilance Commissioners (Member).
The Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners are appointed by the President on the recommendations of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairperson), the Minister of Home Affairs (Member) and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People (Member).
The term of office of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners is four years from the date on which they enter their office or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

Secretariat
The Secretariat consists of a Secretary, four Additional Secretaries, thirty Directors/Deputy Secretaries (including two Officers on Special Duty), four Under Secretaries and office staff.

Integrity Index Development (IID)

  • IID reflects the transparent, accountable and efficient governance of public organisations.
  • CVC has appointed the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad to undertake a research-based approach to create an integrity index that various organizations can use to measure themselves and which will evolve with changing needs.

CVC’s Jurisdiction
CVC Act 2003

  • Members of All India Service 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, NABARD and SIDBI
  • Chief Executives and Executives on the Board and other officers o f 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 Corporations

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013
(i) The Act has amended some provisions of CVC Act, 2003 whereby the Commission has been empowered to conduct preliminary inquiry into complaints referred by Lokpal in respect of officers and officials of Group ’B’, C & T)', besides:

  • Group A ’ officers, for which a Directorate of Inquiry for making preliminary inquiry is to be set up in the Commission.

(ii) The preliminary inquiry reports in such matters referred by Lokpal in respect of Group A and B officers are required to be sent to the Lokpal by the Commission.

(iii) The Commission is also mandated to cause further investigation (after preliminary enquiry) into such Lokpal references in respect of Group ‘C7 & CD' officials and decide on further course of action against them.

The Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014
(i) The Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014 empowers the Commission as the competent authority:

  • to receive complaints relating to disclosure on any allegation of corruption
  • and to provide adequate safeguards against victimisation of the person making such complaint

Limitations of CVC

  • CVC is often considered a powerless agency as it is treated as an advisory body only with no power to register criminal case against government officials or direct CBI to initiate inquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above.
  • Although CVC is “relatively independent" in its functioning, it neither has the resources nor the power to take action on complaints of corruption.

Conclusion
In the recent past, India has emerged as a progressive and vibrant economy. With the rapid growth in all sectors of the economy, huge investments were made in country's infrastructure, construction, retail and many other sectors in the government. Rapid growth in economy throws up C VC s’ challenges in the fight against the menace of corruption.

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