Central Vigilance Commission is an apex Indian government organisation established in 1964 responsible for administering corruption cases in the country. It is an independent, autonomous body that works under the administration of the parliament of India.
The Commission came into existence in 2003 through the Central Vigilance Commission Act passed in the parliament as a law conferring strategery. Being an independent, autonomous organisation implies that it does not function under any executive authority. However, it is accountable only to the parliament and responsible for administrating vigilance activities operating under the central government of India. Apart from this, the commission is also responsible for providing advisory on the same to other Central Government organisations and authorities involved in formulating, reviewing and implementing their vigilance operations.
The Government of India, on February 11, 1964, set up the Central Vigilance Commission by passing a resolution. The recommendations were made by the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, led by K. Santhanam. Here are a few more important facts related to the commission:
- Nittoor Srinivasa Rau was appointed as the first CVC of India.
- The commission is also responsible for publishing an annual report to give the details of its completed tasks throughout the year.
- The commission has been serving as a multi-member organisation, having been conferred a ‘statutory status’.
- It functions on the “Zero Tolerance Against Corruption” principle.
- Suresh N. Patel is serving as the current Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India.
Organisational structure of CVC
The Central Vigilance Commission is led by a Central Vigilance Commissioner who works with two other assistant vigilance commissioners. The organisation also has its own Secretariat, Chief Technical Examiners’ Wing, and Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries. Among these, the Secretariat is composed of:
- A secretary of the union government;
- 1 officer as a Joint Secretary;
- 10 officers as the director or deputy secretary;
- Four officers under the secretaries
- office staff
Removal of an officer
The power to remove an officer appointed as a commissioner in the central vigilance commission resides with the president. This power can be exercised after the approval of the supreme court based on behavioural misconduct or incapacity to perform the duty. Moreover, the removal can also take place if any vigilance commissioner is found to be:
- Insolvent; or
- Accused of an immoral offence; or
- Engaged in other paid employment activities during the office hours or serving term; or
- Unfit to perform the duty due to health complications; or
- Pursuing other financial and employment interests negatively affects their duties towards the commission.
Functions of CVC
- To inspect the existing rules and regulations of the organisation and ensure that there are no internal malpractices.
- To identify sensitive cases with potential indulgence in corruption
- To ensure effective surveillance within the organisation
- To provide proper assistance to CBI in investigation cases entrusted to the organisation
- To conduct queries for complaints registered with the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers (PIDPI) Resolution, 2004.
Limitations of CVC
- In the cases of corruption, advisory proposals suggested by the central vigilance commission can be either accepted or rejected by the central government departments. It is because these powers are limited to their role as an advisory body.
- The commission cannot register criminal cases. It can only deal with the cases involving the specified disciplines and vigilance.
- Any appointment to the commission comes under the control of the union government through Lok Sabha.
- It does not hold power to ask for any data from CBI in a particular matter. This is because the CBI operates under the administration of Personnel and Training, which holds power to appoint, suspend or transfer any CBI officer.
- To offer independent advisory to the disciplinary authorities to assist in cases involving vigilance on various levels.
Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003
The central vigilance commission act came into effect in 2003 after being passed by both houses of the parliament. The bill received its due assent by the president on September 11, 2003, which then followed its final implementation.
The act specifies the framework for the commission, which defines the scope of its functions, limitations and other important matters. It also provides that the commission is a statutory body which implies that no ministry or department controls it. It functions as an independent organisation, which is accountable only to the parliament.
Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014
With corruption being a major challenge for society, the Government of India identified the need to bring a framework for investigating alleged corruption cases. This led to the enactment of the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2014, which is as important as the Central Vigilance Commission Act. It facilitates a system to enable inquiries for alleged cases of corruption or misuse of power by any government servant.
The act was passed to combat the worsening victimised state of whistleblowers in India and put a system in place to tackle the challenge. Since its enactment in 2014, there has been no amendment in the act.
In conclusion, the central vigilance commission plays a critical role in addressing and administering corrupt practices within government bodies. It works in coordination with other government authorities to deal with the challenges that practices like corruption possess on the entire system. However, it is important to note that it is not an investigating agency but works in coalition with CBI and other investigating agencies. Therefore, one must not confuse it with the same.