Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)

Establishment

Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), a top Indian Governmental body, was formed in February 1964 to address the rampant corruption in government departments. Central Vigilance Commission was set up on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption headed by K.Santhanam.  Its main function was to guide and advise Central Government agencies in the area of vigilance.

The Sanathanam Committee, before finalizing its report, presented its interim recommendations to the government in two parts. In the first part it recommended the formation of the Central Vigilance Commission. In the part second the committee suggested granting powers to the commission. The committee advocated that the powers had to be similar to those under Sections 4 and 5 of the Commission of Enquiry Act, 1952, so that the Central Vigilance Commission could embark on an inquiry into transactions where public servants were suspected of having acted in a corrupt manner. It is important here to mention that CVC, as autonomous body, is free of control of any other executive authority. It has got the power to monitor all vigilance activities that fall under the Central Government of India, and advise various authorities in Union Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance works.

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Composition of Central Vigilance Commission

The Central Vigilance Commission comprises of a Central Vigilance Commissioner called the chairperson; and it has not more than two members who are called Vigilance Commissioners.

Mr. Nittoor Srinivasa Rao was made the first Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India. Mr. K. V. Chowdary is the current Central Vigilance  Commissioner; prior to this appointment, he was the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes. The other two members, the Vigilance Commissioners, are Shri T M Bhasin and Mr. Sarad Kumar.

Appointment and Oath

The President of India after receiving the recommendations of a committee appoints the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners. The Committee consists of the Prime Minister who functions as the Chairperson; the minister of the Home Affairs; and the leader of the second largest party in the Lok Sabha or majority group leader in the parliament.

According to the Schedule of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, the Central Vigilance Commissioner or a Vigilance Commissioner, before he enters upon his office, is required to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation before the President of India.

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Removal of Central Vigilance Commissioner

Only the president has got the power to remove The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner on the ground of proven misbehavior or incapacity in The Supreme Court. The President, following the due process of law, at first refers the matter to the Supreme Court to inquire into. If the Supreme Court, after inquiry, reports to the President that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, should be removed then the President,  using his constitutional power, orders the removal.

During the inquiry of the Supreme Court, the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner may be suspended from the office by the President till he gets the report of the Supreme Court on his reference.

The Commissioner can be removed if he: engages in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or has developed such financial or other interests as is likely to affect his functions as a Central Vigilance Commissioner or a Vigilance Commissioner; or has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Union Government, includes moral turpitude; or is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body.

Role and Limitations of CVC

As the Central Vigilance Commission is not an investigating agency, the only investigating it can accomplish is that of examining Civil Works of the Government that is done through the Chief Technical Officer. The investigations against corrupt officials can be initiated only after obtaining the permission of the Government. The CVC publishes a list of cases where permissions are pending.

Department s of the Central Government are not bonded to accept Central Vigilance Commission’s advice in corruption cases as it is an advisory body. It does not have enough resources to entertain all complaints that it receives as it is a very small set up with a sanctioned staff of 299.It is important here to mention in this context that CVC is supposed to restrain corruption in more than 1500 Central Government departments and ministers.Central Vigilance Commission has not got the powers to register criminal case. It can deal only with Vigilance or disciplinary cases. Although it has got supervisory powers over CBI, Central Vigilance Commission can not demand any file from CBI or direct CBI investigate any case in a particular manner.

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