Why in news?
Shri Suresh N. Patel took oath as Vigilance Commissioner on 29th April 2020.
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
- Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is an apex Indian governmental body created in 1964 to address governmental corruption.
- The CVC became a Statutory Body with the enactment of CVC Act, 2003.
- The CVC is an independent body, free of control from any executive authority, (It is NOT controlled by any ministry or department).
- The CVC is responsible only to the Parliament.
- The CVC is NOT an investigating agency. The CVC either gets the investigation done through the CBI or through chief vigilance officers (CVO) in government offices.
Functions of CVC
- The CVC monitors all vigilance activity under the Central Government
- It advises various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
- The CVC recommends appropriate action on complaints on corruption or misuse of power.
- Lokpal, Central Government or Whistle blowers can approach the CVC regarding complaints.
- The CVC – Under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 – can inquire into offences reported against certain categories of Public Servants. (However, remember, CVC is NOT an Investigating agency).
- The Annual Report of the CVC not only gives the details of the work done by it but also brings out the system failures which leads to corruption in various Departments/Organisations, system improvements, various preventive measures and cases in which the Commission’s advises were ignored etc.
Criticism – Limited Powers of CVC
- CVC is treated as an advisory body only as Central Government Departments are free to either accept or reject CVC’s advice in corruption cases.
- The Commission has no jurisdiction over private individuals and organisations of the State Governments.
- The CVC is left with no power to register criminal case.
- The CVC cannot direct the CBI to initiate inquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above. Hence, CVC neither has the resources nor the power to take action on complaints of corruption.
- Appointments to CVC are indirectly under the control of Govt of India. Although, the leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha is a member of the committee that selects the CVC Members – the committee just considers the candidates that are put up before it, and these candidates are decided by the Government.
- CVC is a very small set up with a sanctioned staff strength of 299, which is supposed to check corruption in more than 1500 central government departments and ministries.
Composition of CVC
The CVC is comprised of 3 members:
- A Central Vigilance Commissioner – Chairperson;
- Not more than two Vigilance Commissioners – Members.
- President of India appoints CVC members by warrant under his hand and seal.
- The Oath of office is administered by the President.
- A three-member committee made of – The Prime Minister, The Home Minister and The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha – Makes the Recommendation for appointment of Vigilance Commissioners.
- The Vigilance Commissioners are appointed for a term of Four years OR until they attain 65 years of age (whichever is earlier).
- On retirement – they are NOT eligible for reappointment in any central or state government agency.
Removal of members (according to CVC Act)
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 reports that the officer ought to be removed after inquiry, on a reference made to it by the President.
Also, a member can be removed if the member:
- Is Adjudged as an insolvent
- Is convicted of an offence that involves moral turpitude according to Central Government
- Engages in Office of profit outside the duties of his office
- Is declared unfit by reason of infirmity of mind or body, by the President
- Participates / Concerned / Interested to Participate – in any way in the profit / in any benefit – in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of India