The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was appointed in 1964 as a pinnacle in Indian government authority to combat governmental corruption. The CVC received statutory status in 2003 when the Parliament passed the Central Vigilance Commission Act. It is free of executive control, tasked with overseeing all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India and precisely advising various authorities in central government organisations on how to plan, execute, review, and reform their vigilance work.
The Central Vigilance Commission
It was created by a Government of India Resolution on 11 February 1964. The CVS aims to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance, based on the suggestions of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption. Nittoor Srinivasa Rau was India’s first Chief Vigilance Commissioner.
The CVC’s Annual Report outlines the Commission’s work. For example, it highlights system flaws that lead to corruption in various departments/organisations, system improvements, various preventive measures, and incidents in which the Commission’s recommendations were rejected, among other things.
The Commission consists of:
A Central Vigilance Commissioner – Chairperson;
No more than two Vigilance Commissioners – Members.
Under the Central Vigilance Commission Act, CVC’s sole responsibility is to examine the Government’s Civil Works.
The CVC keeps track of cases where permissions are still outstanding, some of which may be over a year old.
The CVC was given statutory standing and the authority to supervise the operations of the Delhi Special Police Establishment and monitor the progress of their investigations into alleged violations of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, by the Ordinance of 1998. The government attempted to replace the Ordinance with the CVC Bill in the Lok Sabha in 1998, but it failed.
The Bill was reintroduced in 1999 and stayed in Parliament until September 2003, when it was properly enacted by both Houses of Parliament and became an Act.
The CVC was designated as the “Designated Agency” by the Union government in 2004 to receive complaints about the revelation on any allegation of corruption or misuse of office and propose suitable action. The President will receive this report.
Removal of members
As per the Central Vigilance Commission Act, only by order of the President can a Vigilance Commissioner be removed from office based on proven misbehaviour or incapacity. In addition, the President may suspend the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any other Vigilance Commissioner and, if necessary, prohibit them from attending the office during the investigation until the President has passed orders on receipt of the Supreme Court’s report on such a reference.
The President may dismiss the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any other Vigilance Commissioner from office by order-
If the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any other Vigilance Commissioner is adjudged insolvent.
If convicted of a crime that the Central Government believes constitutes moral turpitude.
If engages in any paid employment outside of his official duties during his time of office;
In the President’s opinion, unfit to continue in office due to mental or physical incapacity.
If they acquired a monetary or other interest to jeopardise their powers as a Central Vigilance Commissioner or a Vigilance Commissioner.
Limitations of CVC
CVC is merely a consultative body. In cases of corruption, central government departments have the option of accepting or rejecting the CVC’s advice.
Compared to the volume of complaints it gets, the CVC lacks enough resources. It is a modest organisation with a sanctioned staff of 299 people tasked with combating corruption across more than 1500 Union agencies and ministries.
The CVC cannot order the CBI to open an investigation into an officer with the rank of Joint Secretary or higher on its own. This authorisation must be obtained from the relevant department. However, in 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that this provision was unconstitutional.
The CVC has no authority to file criminal charges. It only deals with situations of vigilance or disciplinary action.
The CVC has supervisory authority over the CBI. On the other hand, CVC lacks the authority to request any file from CBI or ask CBI to investigate any matter in a specific way. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has administrative responsibility for the CBI, which means DoPT has the authority to appoint, transfer, and suspend CBI officers.
The CVC has its investigation branch, relying on the CBI and Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs). The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has updated the guidelines governing the transfer and posting of officials in government organisations’ vigilance units, limiting their tenure to three years at a single location.
At the national level, the Lokpal, the CVC, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are the three main players in the battle against corruption.