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CHAPTER - 1

JURISDICTION, ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

 

         AUTONOMOUS ANTI-CORRUPTION  BODY

1.1.1 The Central Vigilance Commission was set up in 1964 in pursuance of the recommendation made by the Committee on Prevention of Corruption (Santhanam Committee).

The establishment of the Commission was considered essential for evolving and applying common standards in deciding cases involving lack of probity and integrity in Administration. No Administration could be its own judge and the Commission was conceptualised as an apex body for exercising general superintendence and control over vigilance matters in administration and ensuring probity in public life. The Commission's role is advisory and in the exercise of its powers and functions, it has the same measure of independence and autonomy as the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

          

POWERS AND FUNCTIONS

1.1.2 The Government of India (Ministry of Home Affairs) Resolution No.24/7/64-AVD dated the 11th February, 1964, sets out the basic powers and functions assigned to the Commission. Briefly stated, these are:-

(a) undertake an inquiry or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made into any transaction in which a public servant working in any organisation 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 organisations to which the executive control of the Union extends;

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

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

(g) conduct, through its organisation of the Chief Technical Examiner, independent technical examination mainly from vigilance angle, of construction and other related works undertaken by various Central Government organisations; and

(h) organise training courses for Chief Vigilance Officers and other vigilance functionaries in Central Government organisations.

   JURISDICTION

1.1.3 The advisory jurisdiction of the Commission extends to all organisations to which the executive control of the Union extends. However, for practical reasons it has been decided that the Commission will for the present advise only on vigilance cases pertaining to the following categories of employees;

(a) Gazetted Central Government officials;

(b) 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 the Gazetted Central Government officials.

DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN CBI AND ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES

1.1.4 However, where considered necessary, the Commission is within its powers to call for individual cases in respect of employees other than those within its normally exercised jurisdiction and tender appropriate advice. It has also been laid down that if there is a disagreement between the CBI and administrative authorities concerned as regards the future course of action to be taken, in respect of employees who are not within the normal jurisdiction of the Commission, the difference of opinion shall be resolved by the Commission.

1.1.5 The advisory jurisdiction of the Commission in respect of Central public sector undertakings was restricted in October,1986 to Board level appointees only. The Commission has been of the view that the exclusion of other senior levels that are vested with substantial delegated powers in these enterprises considerably reduces the effectiveness of vigilance cover in these organisations.

 

                                                                                                                                             

 

 

1.2 ORGANISATION

 

ONE MEMBER COMMISSION

1.2.1 The Commission is a one member Commission headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner. Shri S.V.Giri, the present Central Vigilance Commissioner, assumed office on 3rd November, 1995.

COMMISSION'S STAFF

 

1.2.2 The work of the Commission is officer-oriented and is attended to by the Central Vigilance Commissioner assisted by a Secretary (an officer of the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India), two Additional Secretaries (officers of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India), ten officers of the rank of Director/Deputy Secretary, four of the rank of Under Secretary and other supportive staff.

OFFICERS FOR CONDUCTING ORAL INQUIRIES

 

1.2.3 In addition, there are fourteen posts of Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries (CDIs) in the Commission who are nominated to conduct oral inquiry in major penalty proceedings on behalf of the disciplinary authorities in important cases.

 

TECHNICAL WING

1.2.4 There is also a Technical Wing attached to the Commission with two Chief Technical Examiners (CTEs) of the rank of Chief Engineer of the CPWD who are assisted by eight Technical Examiners of the rank of Executive Engineer, six Assistant Technical Examiners of the rank of Assistant Engineer and other subordinate staff. The CTEO is being broad-based by drawing officers from different disciplines like Power, Telecommunications and Border Roads organisation etc. This would help in widening the coverage from civil, electrical and horticulture type of works to stores (purchase and inventory control), information technology, telecommunication equipment etc. This would also serve the diversification of the role and the responsibility of the Government departments in an expanding economy.

 

STAFF SUPPORT

1.2.5 Since its inception, the Commission has been experiencing a steady increase in number of vigilance cases being referred to it for advice. This is evident from the fact that starting with 363 cases during 1964-65, the Commission disposed over 5700 cases in the year 1997. The disposal has registered a steep increase of more than 85% in the last decade (in comparison to 1987). This has been possible with the increase in the staff strength of the Commission.

 

BROAD BASED COMPOSITION

1.2.6 To cope with increasing work load, the Commission had submitted a proposal to the Government for augmenting its staff strength. The Government appreciated the staff requirement of the Commission and accorded sanction for creation of 47 posts for the Secretariat Wing and 12 posts for the CDI Wing of the Commission. The Commission have now in position 14 Directors and 8 Deputy Secretaries in the Secretariat Wing and CDI Wing. One post of Joint Secretary level CDI to conduct oral proceedings against senior officers of Government had also been sanctioned. The officers have been drawn from various organised services of Government of India and Financial Institutions, i.e. Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax and Customs), Indian Ordnance Factory Service, Indian Postal Service, Indian Civil Accounts Service, Indian Defence Accounts Service, Indian Statistical Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, Central Secretariat Service etc. and State Bank of India.

 

POSTS SANCTIONED AND FILLED

1.2.7 The group-wise sanctioned strength of staff and the number of officers in position as on 31.12.1997 is given below:

 

Group

"A"

Group

"B"

Group

"C"

Group

"D"

Total

Sanctioned

43

85

76

71

275

In position

37

73

71

67

248

                                                                                                        

                                                                                                               

1.3 ROLE OF THE COMMISSION IN THE CHANGING SCENARIO

EMERGING SCENARIO AND CHANGING ROLE OF THE COMMISSION

1.3.1 In the changing economic scenario and increasing liberalisation, the functions of the Commission are getting increasingly complex. With the substantial expansion of the financial sector and large investments going into the Public Sector Undertakings, the need for providing a proper vigilance cover in these organisations becomes paramount. While it is difficult to make broad generalisations applicable to all of them, the general vigilance health of most of the PSUs cannot be considered to be satisfactory. It has also been the experience of the Commission that most of them have not codified their systems, rules and procedures. As a consequence, an element of adhocism permeates even important management decisions. This style of functioning also lends to charges of lack of transparency being levelled against them with varying degrees of justification. In the absence of a well-established framework governing their major operations, questions of consistency in action and credibility of performance assume relevance. These have an impact on the accountability of the institutions, more particularly where the broad parameters within which they are expected to function change rapidly with the changing socio-economic scenario.

1.3.2 The Commission has taken the initiative to make an assessment of the availability of manuals/codified instructions in important functional areas like purchases, stores, maintenance, operations, finance and personnel and impress on the units to bring into being up-to-date manuals. This exercise is kept under constant review in the Commission. The Ministry of Industry have also been approached by the Commission to inform all PSUs to undertake this exercise and complete it within a reasonable time.

1.4 CONSULTATION WITH THE COMMISSION IN REGARD TO  SENIOR LEVEL      APPOINTMENTS IN PSUs, BANKS ETC.

 

1.4.1 According to the extant instructions, before appointments are made to the PSUs and Banks at their higher Board level and Board level respectively, the Ministries/Departments are required to consult the Commission for verification of the antecedents of the persons considered for these posts. This requirement is stipulated with a view to ensure that the top level executives in these establishments should be persons of exemplary conduct and probity while working in the broad framework of the Memorandum of Understandings with the Government. The procedure, which was evolved in 1988, forms an important facet of the functioning of the Commission.

1.4.2 In order to streamline the process of selection of Chief Executives and Functional Directors in the PSUs, the Government took various initiatives and issued revised guidelines. As per the revised guidelines, the administrative Ministries/Departments have to make the reference for scrutiny of antecedents to the Commission within 15 days of receipt of PESB’s recommendations and it shall be the responsibility of the administrative Secretaries to furnish the required information on the candidates to the Commission. In case, the Commission do not receive any reference from the Ministry within 15 days of receipt of PESB’s recommendation, the Commission will take up the matter with the Cabinet Secretary, who in turn will pursue the matter with the administrative Ministries. In case the Commission still did not receive the reference from the administrative Ministry, it will inform the Establishment Officer about its inability to process the case further.

1.4.3 The Commission has accorded a high priority to the proposals referred to it for scrutiny of antecedents. The required information is maintained in the form of a computerised database and is under regular review at different levels. It is the Commission's endeavour that the selections made for top level appointments for these organisations are cleared without delay, based on full information.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                   

1.5 SCHEDULE OF DISPOSAL

 

COMMISSION'S APPROACH TO VIGILANCE MATTERS

1.5.1 In the Commission’s view, delayed handling of vigilance cases at different stages is largely responsible for a negative connotation of vigilance. This problem needs to be addressed by minimising the time taken for handling such cases at each and every stage. The Commission has made efforts to tender advice within the definite time limit of three weeks when complete information has been furnished. The CDIs have also been advised to complete departmental inquiries within the time limit of six months. The objective is to underline the timeliness, speed, consistence and objectivity in Commission’s approach to vigilance matters.

                                                                                                                                        

 

1.6 ROLE AND FUNCTIONING OF VIGILANCE MACHINERY IN PSUs

 

1.6.1 The Department of Public Enterprises had constituted a Committee to review the guidelines for the functioning of PSUs. The Committee in its report had suggested dropping or modifying of most of the existing instructions regarding role and functioning of vigilance machinery. The DOPT and DPE were addressed by the Commission indicating that there are some vital concerns in regard to a large number of issues raised in the report and the amendments suggested which could be detrimental to the long term vigilance health of public enterprises. It was, therefore, suggested that the Commission should be closely associated with the processing of the Report by the Government.

1.7 INDEPENDENT REVIEW COMMITTEE (IRC)

 

SUPREME COURT DIRECTIVES IN RESPECT OF CVC/CBI/ED

1.7.1 The Government of India in September, 1997 had set up a Committee called the Independent Review Committee comprising the following :

(i) Shri B.G.Deshmukh - former Cabinet Secretary

(ii) Shri N.N.Vohra - Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister

(iii) Shri S.V.Giri - Central Vigilance Commissioner

1.7.2 The broad terms of reference of the Committee were as under:-

(i) To monitor the functioning of the nodal agency established by the Ministry of Home Affairs in pursuance of the recommendations of the Vohra Committee Report.

(ii) To examine the present structure and working of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate and related agencies to suggest the changes, if any.

1.7.3 The recommendations of the IRC were considered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. The Court in its order dated 18.12.1997 gave following directions, amongst others:-

(i) The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) shall be given statutory status.

(ii) Selection for the post of Central Vigilance Commissioner shall be made by a Committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The appointment shall be made by the President on the recommendations made by the Committee.

(iii) The CVC shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of the CBI. The CBI shall report to the CVC about cases taken by it for investigation, progress of investigations etc.

(iv) Recommendations for appointment of the Director, CBI shall be made by a Committee headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner with Home Secretary and Secretary (Personnel) as members. Final selection shall be made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. The Director, CBI shall have a minimum tenure of two years.

(v) A Selection Committee headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner including Home Secretary, Secretary (Personnel) and Revenue Secretary shall prepare a panel for appointment of the Director, Enforcement Directorate. The appointment to the post of Director shall be made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet from the panel recommended by the Selection Committee. The Director, Enforcement Directorate shall have a minimum tenure of two years.

                                                                                                            

 

1.8 AGENDA FOR ACTION - PROBITY IN PUBLIC LIFE

 

REVAMPING VIGILANCE MACHINERY

1.8.1 There is a general impression that corruption pervades all spheres of public administration. The qualities of a government servant of integrity and probity in public service are at a great discount. Concern has been expressed against the menace of corruption from all quarters.

 

1.8.2 The issue was discussed at length in the CVO’s Annual Conference convened by the Commission in September, 1997. After deliberations, the following formulation emerged as a response to combat the problem of graft in our public life. In the larger context, the problems relating to vigilance administration can be viewed meaningfully only in an environment where the poor and marginalised sections of our population feel empowered to stand up and demand their rights for an efficient delivery of the Government services, availability of open systems and transparent procedures. The vigilance machinery in its broad connotation should be able to facilitate this change. A 15-Point Agenda for Action was put forth spelling out specific points for actions as listed below. Underlying the agenda is the conviction that the approach to this deep rooted problem has to be in terms of institutional responses and that the long term answer would lie in restoring the values which characterised our polity at the dawn of our Independence.

1. Revamping the vigilance machinery for dealing with deviant conduct swiftly and effectively.

2. Putting in place proper systems and procedures in the public sector enterprises while progressively granting autonomy.

3. Ensuring transparency in procedures and establishing effective grievance redressal mechanism both within and outside the Government.

4. Departments like Railways, Airlines, Telecommunications, Income Tax, Customs & Excise etc. having extensive public interface, may have to be given special attention in combating corruption through an immediate action plan to deal with sensitive areas. Similar measures are required to be adopted by the States in areas like Sales Tax administration, Road Transport, Registration, Land Records etc.

5. In making appointments to top posts, integrity of a high order will have to be given as much weightage as efficiency.

6. Investigations into vigilance related cases should conform to a reasonable time frame; a credible mechanism in the form of an independent Commission to render expert advice in regard to registration of cases, sanction of prosecution and monitoring progress of important and sensitive cases, will have to be established.

As important as the other measures is the protection of the honest public servant against vindictiveness and harassment. This must be effectively built into the system.

7. Empower the poor and improve their access to basic services by de-centralisation and revamping of Panchayati Raj bodies; special emphasis to be given to basic empowerment programmes like literacy, health, population and nutrition.

8. While right to information and transparency of procedures should inform and govern all public actions, it will be necessary to go further and work out an arrangement to actively share the information with the large majority of marginalised and asset-less class of people through making public the list of beneficiaries of all welfare schemes like Public Distribution Scheme, DRDA, Employment Generation Programmes etc.

9. National consensus to be forged at a Conference of Chief Ministers and other political leaders on the empowerment issues and keeping their implementation constantly under review through quarterly meetings.

10. Transparency in the appointments to watch-dog institutions, like the Comptroller & Auditor General, Central Vigilance Commission, Election Commission, Union Public Service Commission etc.

11. Mobilisation of NGOs, Literacy Groups, DWCRA, Women’s Groups and other public spirited men and women in large numbers to carry the message to the nook and corner of the country.

12. All public men will be called upon to declare their assets before entering upon their offices.

13. Effective steps to ensure that law-breakers do not become law makers.

14 Making sustained efforts to infuse in the students a sense of right and wrong and respect for the values enshrined in our Constitution, through proper orientation of curricula and methods of teaching educational reforms.

15. Constitution of a Cabinet Committee or similar high level mechanism to evolve and oversee the Action Plan in regard to all the items listed above.

                                                                                      

                                                                                                 

 

1.9 MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM

1.9.1 The Commission has been experiencing a steep increase in the intake of the number of advice cases. Besides, the Commission has the onerous responsibility of supervising and monitoring the vigilance and anti-corruption work of more than 600 organisations through the set-up of Chief Vigilance Officers. More recently, the functions of according vigilance clearance for board level and higher board level appointments in PSUs and Banks require the Commission to check/scrutinise the antecedents of persons for these appointments. To cope with the pressure of work, the Commission has undertaken computerisation of its day-to-day functioning in a systematic manner, strengthening its control over vigilance activities, day-to-day monitoring and reporting system on vigilance matters etc. with the help of the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

1.9.2 To begin with, the NIC had set up a Computer Centre in the Commission in the year 1987 to look after various areas of computerisation. As a major step in this direction, NIC collaborated with the Commission to develop Vigilance Complaints Monitoring System. All the elements of case monitoring, namely registration of complaints, periodic updation, report generation, locating records at a particular point of time etc. have been addressed by way of development of several computer software programmes. The large volume of data arising out of about 5000 advices and disciplinary cases handled by the Commission every year and the need for maintaining accurate information on the track records of large number of officers demand that the computerisation exercise should benefit in:-

 

( i)       Preserving records/data of various vigilance cases;

(ii)      Effective follow-up of vigilance cases; and

(iii)   Analysis of the trend of vigilance cases in different organisations/sectors;

 

 

1.9.3 More specially, the following broad areas have been identified and taken up for computerisation :-

(i) Index card of vigilance cases;

(ii) Vigilance case monitoring and follow-up;

(iii) Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) profile;

(iv) Quarterly Statistical Returns (QSRs);

(v) Vigilance Clearance Monitoring System;

(vi) Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) and Performance Reports of CVOs monitoring system;

(vii) Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries (CDIs) Information System;

(viii) Day-to-day Secretarial work of the Commission; and

(ix) Pay-roll system of the Commission.       

1.9.4 This has proved to be of immense advantage to the Commission in analysing the database, close monitoring and follow-up of cases.

                                                                                                                                        

 

1.10 PROGRESSIVE USE OF HINDI

COMPLIANCE WITH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE ACT, 1963

The Commission, during the year under report, continued to give due emphasis to the implementation of the provisions as also achievement of the objectives envisaged in the Official Language Act, 1963.

1.11 REPRESENTATION OF SCHEDULED CASTES/ SCHEDULED TRIBES AND OTHER BACKWARD CLASSES IN THE COMMISSION’S STAFF

IMPLEMENTATION OF RESERVATION ORDERS

Appropriate reservation in service for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes is a declared policy of the Government. In pursuance of this policy, the Central Vigilance Commission has been making every effort for implementing the relevant Government instructions in this regard in respect of service/posts under its administrative control. During the year under report, 7 persons have been appointed to Group 'B' (Non-gazetted) post and 11 Group `D' posts on direct recruitment basis. The percentage of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in the various groups of posts filled/held, otherwise than by deputation in the Central Vigilance Commission as on 31.12.1997 is given below:

 

Group "A"

Group "B"

Group "C"

Group "D"

Scheduled Castes

50.00%

18.86%

10.52%

40.00%

Scheduled Tribes

-

3.77%

5.26%

4.61%

Other Backward Classes

-

9.43%

-

4.61%