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CHAPTER 2

ADVISORY ROLE OF THE COMMISSION

ADVICE IN VIGILANCE CASES

2.1.1 The Central Vigilance Commission acts as the apex body for rendering impartial and objective advices to the Disciplinary and other Authorities on vigilance matters and vigilance related cases, where a public servant is alleged to have acted for an improper purpose or in a corrupt manner in discharge of his official duties. In its functioning, the Commission is independent and therefore, imparts an element of externality and objectivity in the decision making process of the Government/PSUs/ Nationalised Banks/Local Bodies etc. in the matters relating to probity and integrity administration. Apart from impartiality and objectivity, the functioning of the Commission also ensures consistency and common standard of action for similar kind of misconducts including criminal misconducts. However, all cases of misconducts are not required to be referred to the Commission for its advice; only those cases, having a definite or potential vigilance angle and an element of corruption or criminal misconduct or malafide are required to be referred to the Commission for advice.

2.1.2 During the year under report, the Commission received 4,304 cases for advice as against 4,263 received in the preceding year. Similarly, the number of cases in which advice was tendered during the year was 5,747 as against 4,246 cases disposed off during the preceding year.

 

2.2 COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY THE COMMISSION

APPROACH

 

2.2.1. Complaints constitute an important source of information leading to the exposure of misconduct and malpractices. The complaints received directly in the Commission are referred to the Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) of the departments concerned or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for investigation and report, depending upon the nature of the allegations. A large number of complaints received are either anonymous or pseudonymous in nature. A number of such anonymous/pseudonymous complaints are often found to be motivated with a view to spoil the image and reputation of the officers, particularly when they are due for advancement in their career. On the other hand, a number of serious cases of corruption and malpractices, especially against those at senior levels, are brought to light through such complaints. The Commission, therefore, takes due care at the stage of initial scrutiny to ensure that while frivolous, malicious and motivated complaints are not encouraged, complaints containing verifiable facts are effectively followed up.

DISPOSAL OF COMPLAINTS

 

2.2.2 During the year under report, the Commission received 1203 complaints of which 380 complaints (nearly 32%) were either anonymous or pseudonymous. Out of 1248 complaints scrutinised during the year, 448 (nearly 36%) complaints were found to contain sufficient information to justify further probe. These were accordingly forwarded to the CVOs of the organisations concerned or to the CBI for investigation and report, depending upon the nature of allegations contained in them. Of the remaining 800 complaints, 334 (nearly 27%) complaints were found to contain vague and unverifiable allegations and were, therefore, closed. The remaining 466 (nearly 37%) complaints either did not contain allegations prima facie bearing a vigilance angle or the public servant(s) complained against were not within the normal advisory jurisdiction of the Commission. These were, therefore, forwarded to the administrative authorities concerned for appropriate action at their end.

                                                                                                          

                                                                                                         

      2.3 VIGILANCE CASES

       

CONSULTATION WITH THE COMMISSION

 

2.3.1 The complaints received directly by the departments/organisations are required to be scrutinised by the CVOs concerned to assess whether the allegations made merit further investigation. If the complaint pertains to a public servant who falls within the normal advisory jurisdiction of the Commission and the initial scrutiny of the complaint indicates that the allegations, though bearing a vigilance angle, are vague and prima facie unverifiable, a decision to drop the complaint and file it can be taken by the Chief Executive/Head of Department only after consultation with the Commission unless the complaint is anonymous or pseudonymous in nature. If it is decided to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the allegations contained in the complaint, it is necessary for the department/organisation concerned to forward a preliminary enquiry report to the Commission seeking its advice as regards the course of action to be taken on it. Likewise, the departments/organisations are required to forward a preliminary investigation report together with their views thereon in respect of all complaints forwarded by the Commission for investigation.

       

CASES INVESTIGATED BY CBI

       

2.3.2 In cases where the preliminary investigation has been made by the CBI, the department concerned is required to offer its specific views on the recommendations made by the CBI for advice of the Commission. The cases pertaining to public servants not within the normal advisory jurisdiction of the Commission are, however, not required to be referred to the Commission but if there is disagreement between the department and the CBI as regards the further course of action, the matter is required to be referred to the Commission for advice.

       

STAGES OF CONSULTAITON

       

2.3.3 The preliminary investigation report, whether furnished by the CVO or the CBI, is examined in the Commission and depending on the circumstances and facts of each case the Commission advises whether to initiate prosecution or departmental proceedings against the public servant(s) involved in the case or whether the case needs to be closed. This constitutes a reference to the Commission for its first stage advice in a disciplinary case. In cases where the departmental action for major penalty is advised, the Commission also indicates whether the oral inquiry is to be conducted by a Commissioner for Departmental Inquiries of the Commission or the department may appoint its own Inquiry Officer for the purpose. The Inquiry Report in either case is again required to be furnished to the Commission for its second stage advice before taking a final decision in the case. The Commission is also required to give such second stage advice in cases where the departmental action for minor penalty has been instituted and the disciplinary authorities after examining defence statement, propose to close the case without imposing any penalty.

2.3.4 The Commission is also required to be consulted at the appeal/revision/reviewing stages in cases where the appeal/ revising/reviewing authorities propose to modify or set aside the penalty imposed in a case in which the Commission was earlier consulted. The only exception to this requirement is cases in which the administrative authorities are required to consult the Union Public Service Commission also.

                                                                                                                 

 

 

2.4 EXPEDITIOUS DISPOSAL OF VIGILANCE CASES

IMPERATIVE NEED FOR EXPEDITIOUS DISPOSAL

 

2.4.1 The effectiveness of vigilance largely depends on expeditious disposal of cases. In consonance with the principle of natural justice, the Commission’s effort has been to ensure that its advices as to the action or further course of action are acted upon without loss of time. This is meant to ensure a swift and effective dispensation of an objective treatment in all vigilance cases. Even with a steady increase in the inflow of cases seeking Commission’s advice, thanks to close monitoring arrangements and streamlining of procedures, it has now become possible for the Commission to tender advice to the Authorities concerned within a period of about three weeks, wherever the references are complete. In addition, the Commission has also been emphasising that the Commissioners of Departmental Inquiry as well as the Inquiry Officers appointed by the Departments/Organisations should plan and adhere to the time schedule set under instructions issued by appropriate organisations duly following principles of natural justice. The broad time-frame for completion of oral inquiries is about six months.

 

2.5 CASES RECEIVED AND DISPOSED BY THE COMMISSION

 

 

 

NUMBER OF CASES RECEIVED

2.5.1 The number of cases received in the Commission during the year was 4,304 as against 4,263 cases received during the preceding year. The diagram below illustrates the point that over the last ten years or so there has been a general increase every year in the number of cases referred to the Commission for advice. In fact, the number of cases received during the year under report confirms the trend of steady increase of cases during the decade.

 

                                                                                                                                

 

 

NUMBER OF CASES DISPOSED

2.5.2 The Commission had tendered its advice on 4,246 cases during the preceding year. However, the year under report registered a sharp rise as the advice was tendered in 5,747 cases. The number of cases handled annually during the preceding ten years in any case firmly establishes that there has been a steady increase in the volume of the work handled in the Commission. The diagram below illustrates this point.

* The disposal of less number of cases during the year 1995 was due to the fact that the post of CVC remained vacant for over seven months.

 

                                                                                                                                

 

 

2.6 FIRST STAGE ADVICE CASES

2.6.1 The Commission during the year under report tendered its first stage advice on 2817 cases. The nature of advices so tendered is indicated in the Table (Table-1) given below:

TABLE – 1

Nature of advice

On the investigation reports of

Total

 

CBI

CVO

Criminal Proceedings

79

15

94

Major penalty proceedings

182

1025

1207

Minor penalty proceedings

57

261

318

Administrative action,

Warning, Caution etc.

104

358

462

Closure

113

623

736

TOTAL

535

2282

2817

 

NOTE: The Commission did not tender any advice on 41 CBI and 8 CVO Reports as its advice was not necessary.

 

2.7 SECOND STAGE ADVICE CASES

 

NATURE OF COMMISSION'S ADVICE

 

2.7.1 The disposal of cases by the Commission at second stage is reflected in the Table (Table- 2) below:

TABLE – 2

Nature of advice

On the CDI’s Reports

On the cases received from CVOs

Total

Imposition of major penalty

347

774

1121

Imposition of minor penalty

61

240

301

Exoneration

70

222

292

Other action

29

138

167

TOTAL

507

1374

1881

 

NOTE: The Commission did not tender advice on 1 CDI Report and 4 cases received from CVOs.

                                                                                                

 

 

2.8 FIRST STAGE ADVICE ON INVESTIGATION REPORTS

BROAD ANALYSIS

 

2.8.1 The following Table (Table-3) gives an analysis of the nature of action advised by the Commission (by way of first stage advice) during the last few years:

TABLE – 3

(A) CBI INVESTIGATION REPORTS

Year

Total advices tendered

Nature of action advised

Prosecution

Major penalty proceedings

Minor penalty proceedings

Others

1985

287

31

(10.8)

120

(41.8)

32

(11.2)

104

(36.2)

1990

262

31

(11.8)

116

(44.3)

33

(12.6)

82

(31.3)

1995

190

14

(7.4)

40

(21.1)

28

(14.7)

108

(56.8)

1996

427

76

(17.8)

125

(29.3)

42

(9.8)

184

(43.1)

1997

535

79

(14.8)

182

(34.0)

57

(10.7)

217

(40.5)

(Figures in brackets indicate percentage to respective total advices)

TABLE - 4

(B) CVOs INVESTIGATION REPORTS

Year

Total advices tendered

Nature of action advised

Prosecution

Major penalty proceedings

Minor penalty proceedings

Others

1985

1031

3

(0.3)

351

(34.0)

84

(8.2)

593

(57.5)

1990

1736

4

(0.2)

478

(27.5)

194

(11.2)

1060

(61.1)

1995

894

1

(0.1)

309

(34.6)

110

(12.3)

474

(53.0)

1996

2055

8

(0.4)

830

(40.4)

205

(10.0)

1012

(49.2)

1997

2282

15

(0.7)

1025

(44.9)

261

(11.4)

981

(43.0)

(Figures in brackets indicate percentage to respective total advices)

 

 

 

 

TABLE – 5

(C) COMBINED CBI/CVOs INVESTIGATION REPORTS

 

Year

Total advices tendered

Nature of action advised

Prosecution

Major penalty proceedings

Minor penalty proceedings

Others

1985

1318

34

(2.6)

471

(35.7)

116

(8.8)

697

(52.9)

1990

1998

35

(1.7)

594

(29.7)

227

(11.4)

1142

(57.2)

1995

1084

15

(1.4)

349

(32.2)

138

(12.7)

582

(53.7)

1996

2482

84

(3.4)

955

(38.5)

247

(9.9)

1196

(48.2)

1997

2817

94

(3.3)

1207

(42.9)

318

(11.3)

1198

(42.5)

(Figures in brackets indicate percentage to respective total advices)

 

 

2.8.2 It is obvious from the Tables 3-5 that the Commission continued to receive by far the largest number of cases from the departmental vigilance units. Out of 2817 cases in which the Commission tendered its first stage advice during the year under report, 2282 cases were investigated by the CVOs.

                                                                                                                                        

 

 

2.9 PUNITIVE ACTION AS SECOND STAGE ADVICE

 

2.9.1 In advising imposition of penalties or exoneration of charged officials, the Commission keeps in view such factors as gravity of misconduct, nature of evidence and other attending circumstances. The table (Table-6) below indicates the nature of penalties recommended by the Commission over the last few years:

 

 

TABLE – 6

COMMISSION’S RECOMMENDATIONS

AS SECOND STAGE ADVICE

 

Year

Imposition of Major Penalty

Imposition of Minor Penalty

Others

Total

1985

291

(57.6)

54

(10.7)

160

(31.7)

505

1990

384

(47.1)

150

(18.4)

281

(34.5)

815

1995

513

(56.6)

137

(15.1)

257

(28.3)

907

1996

659

(57.8)

158

(13.8)

324

(28.4)

1141

1997

1121

(59.6)

301

(16.0)

459

(24.4)

1881

(Figures in brackets indicate percentage to respective total advices)

 

2.9.2 The following conclusions can be drawn from the data given above:

 

* The percentage of cases which ended with imposition of formal punishments, during the year after the formal proceedings, was 76%. In only 24% of the cases no punishments could be imposed.

 

** Most of the cases, in which the Commission had advised initiation of major penalty proceedings, resulted in imposition of such a penalty on the delinquent officers. In terms of percentage, it is about 60%.

 

2.9.3 Further break-up of the second stage advice figures in the foregoing table is given in the Tables 7 and 8 below:

 

 

(A) SECOND STAGE ADVICE BASED ON

INQUIRY REPORTS OF CDIs

TABLE - 7

Year

Total advices tendered

Nature of action advised

Major Penalty

Minor Penalty

Others

1985

391

246

(62.9)

37

(9.5)

108

(27.6)

1990

531

267

(50.3)

91

(17.1)

173

(32.6)

1995

385

247

(64.2)

56

(14.5)

82

(21.3)

1996

509

343

(67.4)

41

(8.1)

125

(24.5)

1997

507

347

(68.5)

61

(12.0)

99

(19.5)

(Figures in brackets indicate percentage to respective total advices)

(B) SECOND STAGE ADVICES ON INQUIRY REPORTS OF INQUIRY OFFICERS OF DEPARTMENTS

TABLE - 8

Year

Total advices tendered

Nature of action advised

Major Penalty

Minor Penalty

Others

1985

114

45

(39.5)

17

(14.9)

52

(45.6)

1990

284

117

(41.2)

59

(20.8)

108

(38.0)

1995

522

266

(51.0)

81

(15.5)

175

(33.5)

1996

632

316

(50.0)

117

(18.5)

199

(31.5)

1997

1374

774

(56.3)

240

(17.5)

360

(26.2)

(Figures in brackets indicate percentage to respective total advices)

 

2.9.4 The following inferences can be drawn from the data given in Tables 7 and 8:

* The number of cases in which the oral inquiry ended with advice for imposition of major penalty is higher in CDI inquired cases.

** The number of cases in which no penalty action was advised at the end of oral inquiries is higher in departmentally inquired cases.

*** This is indicative of the need to impart better training skills to departmentally appointed Inquiry Officers and also to prepare charge-sheets properly.

                                                                                                

 

 

2.10 ACTION TAKEN/PUNISHMENTS IMPOSED ON COMMISSION'S ADVICES

PUNISHMENTS IMPOSED ON COMMISSION'S ADVICE

2.10.1 As per the information made available to the Commission, the disciplinary authorities in various organisations issued sanction during 1997 for prosecution of 12 public servants and imposed major penalties in 430 cases and minor penalties in 429 cases after obtaining the advice of the Commission. The Department-wise break-up of such cases is given in ANNEXURE-I. These included a Managing Director of a Nationalised Bank, one Secretary of a Port Trust and one Chief Engineer of a Civic Body.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

             

2.11 IMPOSITION OF PENALTIES OF HIGHER ORDER

PENALTIES OF HIGHER ORDER

2.11.1 During 1997, major penalties of the higher order, namely, dismissal, removal and compulsory retirement from service were imposed on fifty seven (57) officers of various organizations, as per information available with the Commission. The comparative figures are given in the following Table (Table-9):

      TABLE - 9

      Year

      Type of Punishment

      Dismissal

      Removal

      Compulsory Retirement

      Total

      1990

      19

      22

      19*

      60

      1995

      28

      15

      4

      47

      1996

      19

      10

      8

      37

      1997

      25

      17

      15

      57

      * Includes two cases in which services of the officers concerned were terminated.

                                                                                                                          

       

 

2.12 PENDENCY

PENDENCY WITH THE COMMISSION

2.12.1 The following Table (Table-10) indicates the pendency of cases with the Commission at the end of 1997:

TABLE – 10

Complaints

Cases

 

Inv.Rpts.

Inq.Rpts. & minor penalty cases

Other Rpts./ cases such as reconsi-deration etc.

Total

Brought forward from previous year

156

1214

591

247

2052

Received during the year

1203

2053

1439

812

4304

Total

1359

3267

2030

1059

6356

Disposed of

1248

2866

1886

995

5747

Pending

111

401

144

64

609

2.12.2 There were 2035, 2052 and 609 cases pending with the Commission at the end of year 1995, 1996 and 1997 respectively. Apart from this pendency of 2052 cases at the end of 1996, the Commission has received 4304 cases afresh during the year under report. Thus out of a total of 6356 cases, during the year the Commission has disposed of 5747 cases thereby registering an increase by 35.4% in the disposal when compared to 1996.

2.12.3 Even out of 609 cases pending at the end of 1997, 338 cases are pending for want of clarifications/comments on the CBI reports from the concerned organisations. In other words, only the remaining 271 cases are actually pending with the Commission.