Central Vigilance Commission

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Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is an apex Indian governmental body created to address governmental corruption.

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.

Composition:

The Commission is consist of:

A Central Vigilance Commissioner – Chairperson;
Not more than two Vigilance Commissioners – Members;

Appointment:

The Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners are appointed by the President after obtaining the recommendation of a Committee consisting of:

-The Prime Minister of India (Chairperson)
-The Minister of Home Affairs
-The Leader of the second largest party in the Lok Sabha or majority group leader in parliament

Removal

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.

Organisation

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).

CVC has a staff strength of 257 against sanctioned strength of 299 (including the post of CVC and 2 VCs).

Limitations of CVC

-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.

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.

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