(Sample Material) Gist of Important Articles from IIPA
Topic: Central Vigilance Commission: A Profile P.K. Gopinath
Creation of CVC
A Parliamentary debate in June, 1962 zoomed in on the
“Growing Menace of Corruption in Administration”. Contextually, the then Home
Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri observed, “since we know most of the problems, the
real point is to take remedial action”. This led to the formation of the
Committee on Prevention of Corruption-better known as Santhanam Committee-to
review the problem and make suggestions.
The report of the Committee is a tour de force that stemmed
from a deep understanding of the aetiology of corruption in this country, the
spread of its tentacles and the institutional response required to combat it.
Among other things, the Santhanam Committee noticed the conspicuous absence of a
dynamic integration between the Vigilance Units in various ministries and the
Administrative Vigilance Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Committee
also raised an important issue that the administration could not be a judge of
its own conduct. As a result, it recommended constitution of the CVC. The
government accepted this and the Commission was set up under the terms of the
Goverment of India Resolution dated February 11,1964.
Role,. Power and Jurisdiction of CVC
The CVC has been given the jurisdiction and powers in respect
of matters to which the executive power of the Union extends. It has also been
given the same measure of independence and autonomy as the Union Public Service
Commission (UPSC), a statutory body. Broadly, the functions assigned to the
1. undertake inquiry into any transaction in which a public
servant (in Central Government organisations) is suspected or alleged to have
acted for an improper purpose or in a corrupt manner and to tender advice to the
Disciplinary Authorities in such cases at different stages of investigation,
inquiry appeal, review, etc.;
2. exercise a general check and supervision over the vigilance and
anti-corruption work in ministries and departments of the Government of India,
Central Public Sector Undertakings and other autonomous bodies;
3. advise the administrative authorities to modify the existing procedures and
practices when it appears that such procedures and practices afford scope for
corruption and miscondnct; and
4. approve the appointment of Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) who head the
Vigilance Units in various organizations.
Procedure of Work
The Commission is an advisory body. Ordinarily, advice is
tendered on the basis of a two-stage consultation process with departments.
Depending on the contents, complaints are referred either to the CVO or the
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for investigation. At the First Stage, the
investigation report is examined and advice tendered regarding further course of
action. It could be prosecution, major or minor penalty action or other
non-statutory administrative action. In addition, there can be closure of a case
at the first stage itself. In cases where major penalty proceedings are advised,
on completion of the oral inquiry, advice is tendered, on the basis of the
findings in the inquiry, regarding the nature of penalty to be imposed. This is
the second stage advice.
There is a common misconception that anti-corruption work is
the exclusive domain of a police agency like the CBI and that in every case,
action could be initiated as under the Law. This is not true. Neither it is
based on a proper appreciation of the nature of the problem of corruption nor of
the role of the departmental vigilance machinery. For one thing, investigation
of a case and the successful generation of a level of proof sustainable before
critical judicial scrutiny is an extremely difficult task.
The other facet is that all cases may not reveal the
ingredient of criminal misconduct that is a prerequisite for prosecution. Yet,
many of them will be cases of grave misconduct, breaching conduct rules
governing public servants with clear traces of ulterior motive and malafide.
Thus, the appreciation of the distinction between a criminal misconduct and a
departmental misconduct is important to enhance the effectiveness of
anti-corruption work. The distinction is also linked to the kind of proof that
is required in a case and the resultant action taken.