Central Vigilance Commission (CVC): Purpose, Functions

Central Vigilance Commission, abbreviated as CVC is a top government body, established in 1964 with the aim of addressing corrupt practices within the government.

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) works in coordination with the government authorities for the betterment of the system.

Purpose

  1. The main purpose for which this important body had been established was to ensure all sorts of corruptions in government sector could be well prevented and addressed minutely.
  2. It is an autonomous body, responsible for monitoring all vigilance activities under the union government.
  3. Its major role is to recommend government agencies in “planning, executing, reviewing and reforming” their vigilance capability.
  4. Central Government of India formed CVC in the year 1964 as an important body that could take into account the measures and steps to prevent all the corruptions especially the governmental ones for a better system and governance.

CVC has been given several powers including its status to work independently as a major sovereign body which remains free from any type of control from the authorities.

CVC came into existence after the reports submitted by Committee on Prevention of Corruption whose chairperson Mr. K. Santhanam had suggested for the formation of this Commission. Mr. Nittoor Srinivasa Rau was appointed as first Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India.

It must be informed that Central Vigilance Commission is not an investigating agency. It operates in coalition with the CBI or the Departmental Chief Vigilance Officers. The only search that Central Vigilance Commission conducts is that of investigating Civil Works of the government, which is done through the Chief Technical Officer.

Before Central Vigilance Commission can take up investigations into corruption cases against government officials, it has to be approved by the government. The Central Vigilance Commission also publishes list of corrupt officials and recommends punitive action against them.

Appointment

The President of India appoints the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha. It clearly indicates that the appointments to CVC are indirectly under the government’s control.

Is CVC a powerless agency?

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.

Functions and powers of Central Vigilance Commission

With respect to CBI:

  • To exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) (i.e. CBI)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;
  • To give directions and to review the progress of investigations conducted by the DSPE into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act;
  • As a fallout of the Vineet Narain case, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the Director of the CBI (and Director of Enforcement) should be appointed on the recommendations of a Committee headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner, the Home Secretary and the Secretary in the Department of Personnel as members. The Committee should also take the opinion of the incumbent Director CBI before forwarding their recommendations to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
  • The Committee concerned with the appointment of the Director of CBI is also empowered to recommend, after consultation with the Director (CBI), appointment of officers to the posts of the level of SP and above in DSPE.
  • The Committee concerned with the appointment of the Director of Enforcement is also empowered to recommend, after consultation with the Director of Enforcement, appointment of officers to the posts of the level of Deputy Director and above in the Directorate of Enforcement.

With respect to Vigilance:

  • To undertake an inquiry or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made into any transaction in which a public servant working in any organization, 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;
  • 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.
  • To exercise a general check and supervision over vigilance and anti-corruption work in Ministries or Departments of the Government of India and other organizations to which the executive power of the Union extends; and
  • To undertake or cause an inquiry into complaints received under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informer and recommend appropriate action.
  • Respond to Central Government on mandatory consultation with the Commission before making any rules or regulations governing the vigilance or disciplinary matters relating to the persons appointed to the public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or to members of the All India Services
  • The Central Government is required to consult the CVC in making rules and regulations governing the vigilance and disciplinary matters relating to the members of Central Services and All India Services.

Its main functions include technical audit of construction works of governmental organizations from a vigilance angle, investigation of specific cases of complaints relating to construction works and assisting CBI in its investigations involving technical matters.

Other functions of Central Vigilance Commission

  1. 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.
  2. To review the progress of investigations conducted by the DSPE into offences alleged to have been committed under the PC Act.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. To chair the Committee for selection of Director (CBI), Director (Enforcement Directorate) and officers of the level of SP and above in DSPE.
  7. To undertake or cause an inquiry into complaints received under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informer and recommend appropriate action.

It can be said that Central Vigilance Commission is an apex Indian governmental body 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. 

Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 also empowers the Commission to exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) now called Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The Commission is also empowered to review the progress of investigations conducted by the CBI and the progress of applications pending with the competent authorities for grant of sanction for prosecution for offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988.

The Commission also exercises superintendence over the vigilance administration of the various organizations under the Central Government.

By B2B

Revisiting the Basics

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Calvert Gonsalves
1 year ago

I need to know as to how and where I can lodge complaints against IAS officers. I am based in Goa.