Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is an apex Indian governmental body created in 1964 to address governmental corruption. It has the status of an autonomous body, free of control from any executive authority, charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India, advising various authorities in central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
It was set up by the Government of India in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam Committee, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance. Nittoor Srinivasa Rau, was selected as the first Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India.
The Annual Report of the CVC not only gives the details of the work done by it but also brings out the system failures which leads to corruption in various Departments/Organisations, system improvements, various preventive measures and cases in which the Commission's advises were ignored etc.
The Commission shall consist of:A Central Vigilance Commissioner - Chairperson;
Not more than two Vigilance Commissioners - Members;
The current Central Vigilance Commissioner is Mr. K.V. Chowdary, and among the two Vigilance Commissioners, one is Mr. Rajiv former Director General of CISF and the other is Shri T.M. Bhasin.
The CVC is not an investigating agency.
The only investigation carried out by the CVC is that of examining Civil Works of the Government which is done r.
Corruption investigations against government officials can proceed only after the government permits them. The CVC publishes a list of cases where permissions are pending, some of which may be more than a year old.
The Ordinance of 1998 conferred statutory status to the CVC and the powers to exercise superintendence over functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment, and also to review the progress of the investigations pertaining to alleged offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 conducted by them. In 1998 the Government introduced the CVC Bill in the Lok Sabha in order to replace the Ordinance, though it was not successful. The Bill was re-introduced in 1999 and remained with the Parliament till September 2003, when it became an Act after being duly passed in both the Houses of Parliament. The CVC has also been publishing a list of corrupt government officials against which it has recommended punitive action.
The Central Vigilance Commissioner and a Vigilance Commissioner, before he enters upon his office, is required to make and subscribe to following oath or affirmation:
I, <name>, having been appointed Central Vigilance Commissioner (or Vigilance Commissioner) of the Central Vigilance Commission do swear in the name of God (or solemnly affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear or favor, affection or ill-will and that I will uphold the constitution and the laws.
The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed. The President may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference. The President may, by order, remove from office the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner if the Central Vigilance Commissioner or such Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be:is adjudged an insolvent; or
has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Central Government, involves moral turpitude; or
engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or
is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or
has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as a Central Vigilance Commissioner or a Vigilance Commissioner.
The CVC is headed by a Central Vigilance Commissioner who is assisted by two Vigilance Commissioners.
The Central Vigilance Commission has its own Secretariat, Chief Technical Examiners' Wing (CTE) and a wing of Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries (CDI).
As on 21 March 2012, CVC has a staff strength of 257 against sanctioned strength of 299 (including the post of CVC and 2 VCs)
The Secretariat consists of a Secretary of the rank of Additional Secretary to the Govt of India, one officer of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Govt of India, ten officers of the rank of Director/Deputy Secretary, four Under Secretaries and office staff.
The Chief Technical Examiner's Organisation constitutes the technical wing of the Central Vigilance Commission and has two Engineers of the rank of Chief Engineers (designated as Chief Technical Examiners) with supporting engineering staff. Following are the main functions of this organisation:Technical audit of construction works of Governmental organisations from a vigilance angle
Investigating specific cases of complaints relating to construction works
Assisting the CBI in their investigations involving technical matters and for evaluation of properties in Delhi and
Assisting the Commission and Chief Vigilance Officers in vigilance cases involving technical matters.
There are fourteen posts of Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries (CDI) in the Commission, 11 in the rank of Director and 03 in the rank of Deputy Secretary. The CDIs function as Inquiry Officers to conduct inquiries in departmental proceedings initiated against public servants.
The Directorate General of Vigilance, Income Tax is the apex body under the Central Board of Direct Taxes for the vigilance matters. The Directorate General interfaces with the Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Bureau of Investigation, field formations of CBDT who are also having their Vigilance wings and others in all the matters relating to Vigilance, preliminary investigation of complaints, obtaining CVC/CVO’s first stage advice, wherever required, assistance to Ministry in issuance of charge sheets, monitoring the charge sheet issued by the Disciplinary authorities in the field, monitoring of progress in inquiry proceedings, processing of enquiry reports, obtaining CVC/CVO’s second stage advice, wherever required and communication thereof to Disciplinary authorities and monitoring compliance/implementation of the advice.
CVC is a public authority as defined in the Right to Information Act and hence it is obliged to provide information requested by any citizen of India. Any interested citizen can seek specific information as per the procedure laid down by RTI Act.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.
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.
As a result, although CVC is relatively independent in its functioning, it has neither resources nor powers to inquire and take action on complaints of corruption that may act as an effective deterrence against corruption.
PJ Thomas was appointed as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner in September 2010, on the recommendation of a High Powered Committee (HPC) headed by the Prime Minister of India. The selection of the new CVC was marked by controversies, after Sushma Swaraj, who was part of three-member selection committee, objected to the choice of Thomas, citing the pending chargesheet against him. A public interest litigation was filed in the Supreme Court of India by Centre for Public Interest Litigation and India Rejuvenation Initiative.
On March 3, 2011, the Supreme Court quashed the appointment of Thomas as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, noting that the HPC did not consider the relevant materials on the pending chargesheet. Subsequently, Mr Thomas resigned.
A few years after the murder of IIT Kanpur alumnus NHAI engineer Satyendra Dubey, the CVC launched an initiative to protect whistleblowers. However, this program has been criticized by ex-Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti as being ineffective. He said that he had on previous occasions through his NGO India Rejuvenation Initiative, tried to draw the attention of high officials in the CVC to the unsatisfactory manner of its functioning, but with no results.
Before K V Chowdary's appointment, eminent Supreme Court lawyer and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani as well as eminent lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan raised a red flag, asking the Prime Minister not to go ahead with his appointment, raising severe objections on Chowdary's tenure as CBDT Chief. After Chowdary being appointed, Jethmalani expressed disappointment and wrote a letter to Narendra Modi questioning Chowdhary's credentials. NGO Common Cause represented by Prashant Bhushan has filed a petition in Supreme Court of India challenging K V Chowdary's appointment as CVC and T M Bhasin's appointment as VC on 22 July.
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. Computerisation of Commission’s Work 8. Modern Preventive Vigilance Framework 9. International Cooperation. etc.