The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) 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, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance. CVC is conceived to be 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 organisations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work. Consequent upon promulgation of an Ordinance by the President, the Central Vigilance Commission has been made a multi member Commission with Statutory Status, with effect from 25 August, 1998. The CVC Bill was passed by both the houses of Parliament in 2003 and the President gave his assent on 11th September 2003. Thus, the Central Vigilance Commission Act 2003 (No45 Of 2003) came into effect from that date. Nittoor Srinivasa Rau became the first Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India. The Commission shall consist of a Central Vigilance Commissioner – Chairperson and not more than 2 Vigilance Commissioners – Members.
The president can remove the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any vigilance commissioner from the office under the following circumstances:
(a) If he is adjudged an insolvent; or
(b) If he has been convicted of an offence which (in the opinion of the Central government) involves a moral turpitude; or
(c) If he engages, during his term of office, in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or
(d) If he is (in the opinion of the president), unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or
(e) If he has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his official functions. In addition to these, the president can also remove the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any vigilance commissioner on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. However, in these cases, the president has to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for an enquiry.
If the Supreme Court, after the enquiry, upholds the cause of removal and advises so, then the president can remove him. He is deemed to be guilty of misbehaviour, if he
(a) is concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by the Central government, or
(b) participates in any way in the profit of such contract or agreement or in any benefit or emolument arising therefore otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company The salary, allowances and other conditions of service of the Central Vigilance Commissioner are similar to those of the Chairman of UPSC and that of the vigilance commissioner are similar to those of a member of UPSC. But they cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
Powers, Functions and Responsibilities
The Central Vigilance Commission is not an investigating agency. The only investigation conducted by the CVC is that of examining Civil Works of the Government which is carried on by the Chief Technical Officer. The CVC conducts its investigations through the CBI or through the Departmental Chief Vigilance Officers. The main purpose of this organisation are-
• Technical audit of construction works of Governmental organisations from a vigilance perspective;
• Investigation of specific cases of complaints relating to construction works;
• Extension of assistance to CBI in their investigations involving technical matters and for evaluation of properties in Delhi; and Tendering of advice and assistance to the Commission and Chief Vigilance Officers in vigilance cases involving technical matters.
Powers and Functions of CVC
To exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) with respect to investigation under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; or offence under CRPC for certain categories of public servants and to give directions to the DSPE for purpose of discharging this responsibility;
a) To review the progress of investigations conducted by the DSPE into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act;
b) To undertake an inquiry or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made into any transaction in which a public servant working in any organisation, to which the executive control of the Government of India extends, is suspected or alleged to have acted for an improper purpose or in a corrupt manner;
c) To tender independent and impartial advice to the disciplinary and other authorities in disciplinary cases, involving vigilance angle at different stages i.e. investigation, inquiry, appeal, review etc.
d) To exercise a general check and supervision over vigilance and anti-corruption work in Ministries or Departments of the Govt. of India and other organisations to which the executive power of the Union extends; and
e) To chair the Committee for selection of Director (CBI), Director (Enforcement Directorate) and officers of the level of SP and above in DSPE.
f) To undertake or cause an inquiry into complaints received under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informer and recommend appropriate action.
Commission`s Jurisdiction under CVC Act:
• Members of All India Services serving in connection with the affairs of the Union and Group A officers of the Central Government.
• Board level appointees and other senior officers` up to two grades below the Board level, in the Public Sector Undertakings of the Central Government; • Officers of the rank of Scale V and above in the Public Sector Banks;
• Officers of the rank of Assistant Manager and above in the Insurance Sector (covered by LIC and GIC and four non- life insurance companies in the Public sector);
• Officers drawing basic pay of Rs. 8700/- per month and above in autonomous bodies/local authorities or societies owned or controlled by the Central Government.
Chief Vigilance Officers
The Chief Vigilance Officers are extended hands of the CVC. The Chief Vigilance Officers are considerably higher level officers who are appointed in each and every Department/ Organisation to assist the Head of the Department/Organisation in all vigilance matters. The Chief Vigilance Officers constitute an important link between the organizations concerned and the Central Vigilance Commission, as also the CBI.
The CVC is a multi-member body consisting of a Central Vigilance Commissioner (chair-person) and not more than two vigilance commissioners. They are appointed by the president by warrant under his hand and seal on the recommendation of a three-member committee consisting of the prime minister as its head, the Union minister of home affairs and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. They hold office for a term of four years or until they attain the age of sixty five years, whichever is earlier. After their tenure, they are not eligible for further employment under the Central or a state government.