Central Vigilance Commission

Consequent upon the directives of the Supreme Court in the Writ Petition filed in public Interest by Shri Vineet Narain and others in Hawala case, the Central Vigilance Commission was given statutory status, through an Ordinance dated 25.08.1998, as amended on 27.10.1998. It became law in 2003, making the Commission, a statutory body. The Act envisaged the Commission to be a multi-member Commission consisting of the Central Vigilance Commissioner (Chairman) with not more than four Vigilance Commissioners as its members.

The appointments of the CVC and the VCs, were to be made by the President by warrant under his hand and seal on the recommendations of a committee consisting of

(i) the Prime Minister,

(ii) the Minister of Home Affairs and

(iii) leader of the Opposition in the House of People. The Commission’s members can be removed in like manner as of the Supreme Court’s.

The Act assigns the following functions of the CVC :

(a) 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;

(b) tender independent and impartial advice to the disciplinary and other authorities in disciplinary cases having vigilance angle at different stages of investigation, inquiry, appeal, review, etc.;

(c) conduct oral inquiries through its officers [Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries] in important disciplinary proceedings against the said public servants;

(d) 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 control of the Union extends;

(e) initiate at such intervals, as it considers suitable, review of procedures and practices of administration in so far as they relate to maintenance of integrity in administration;

(f) scrutinize and approve proposals for appointment of Chief Vigilance Officers in various organizations and assess their work;

(g) conduct, through its organization of Chief Technical Examiners, independent technical examination mainly from vigilance angle and;

(h) organize training courses for the Chief Vigilance Officers and other vigilance functionaries in Central Government organizations.

In addition to the above functions, the Central Vigilance Commission was empowered to:

(a) exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) in so far as it relates to investigation of offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988;

(b) review the progress of investigations conducted by the DSPE into offences alleged to have been committed under the PC Act;

(c) exercise the powers of a Civil Court, while inquiring, or causing an inquiry or investigation to be made, into any complaint against a public servant, and in particular in respect of the following matters:- (i) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath; (ii) requiring the discovery and production of any document; (iii) receiving evidence on affidavits; (iv) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; (v) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents; and (vi) any other matter which may be prescribed.

(d) head the committees to make recommendations for the appointments to the posts of the Director, CBI and the Director of Enforcement.

Though the advisory jurisdiction of the Commission extends to all organizations of the Union, yet, for all practical purposes, the Commission advises on vigilance cases pertaining to the following categories of employees:-

(a) Gazetted Central Government officials;

(b) Two levels below the Board level appointees in the public sector undertakings of the Central Government;

(c) Officers of the rank of Scale-III and above in the public sector banks;

(d) Officers of the rank of Assistant Manager and above in the Insurance Sector (covered by LIC and GIC); and

(e) Officers in autonomous bodies/local authorities or societies comparable in status to that of a Gazetted Central Government officer.

The Commission retains it residuary powers to call for any individual case in respect of employees other than those who are within its normal jurisdiction.

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