Malvika Advani 24 Apr 2019




The Central Vigilance Commission was set up by the Government in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance.

CVC is an apex Indian governmental body. It addresses governmental corruption. In 2003, the Parliament enacted a law conferring statutory status on the CVC. It

  • has the status of an autonomous body
  • is free of control from any executive authority
  • charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India
  • advises various authorities in central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.

The main purpose for which this important body had been established was to ensure all sorts of corruptions in government sector could be well prevented and addressed minutely.

Central Government of India formed CVC in the year 1964 as an important body that could take into account the measures and steps to prevent all the corruptions especially the governmental ones for a better system and governance.

The Government of India has authorized the Central Vigilance Commission as the "Designated Agency" to receive written complaints for disclosure on any allegation of corruption or misuse of office and recommend appropriate action.



The CVC Bill was passed by both the houses of Parliament in 2003 and the President gave its assent on September 11, 2003. Thus the Central Vigilance Commission Act 2003 came into effect from that date.

Before Central Vigilance Commission can take up investigations into corruption cases against government officials, it has to be approved by the government. The Central Vigilance Commission also publishes list of corrupt officials and recommends punitive action against them.



[Section 3(1)]

The Commission shall consist of:

  1. A Central Vigilance Commissioner - Chairperson;
  2. Not more than two Vigilance Commissioners - Members;

CVC is headed by a Central Vigilance Commissioner who is assisted by two Vigilance Commissioners.

[Section 10]

The Vigilance Commissioner shall act as Central Vigilance Commissioner in the following circumstances:

  • If the office of Central Vigilance Commissioner is vacant due to his death, resignation or otherwise
  • The Central Vigilance Commissioner is unable to discharge his functions due to him being absent on leave.




[Section. 3(3) and 4]

The President of India appoints the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha.

The Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners shall be appointed from amongst persons—

  1. Who have knowledge and experience in the matters relating to vigilance, policy making and administration including police administration and have been or are in

·         an All-India Service;

·         any civil service of the Union;

·         a civil post under the Union;

  1. who have held office or are holding office in a corporation established by or under any Central Act or a Government company owned or controlled by the Central Government and persons who have expertise and experience in finance including insurance and banking, law, vigilance and investigations.

A Secretary shall be appointed to the Commission on terms and conditions to exercise such powers and discharge such duties as the Commission may by regulations specify in this behalf.




[Section 6]

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 has been referred the matter and an inquiry is conducted. The result of the inquiry is such that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner needs to be removed.

The President may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.

The President may, by order, remove Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner from office if such person

·         is adjudged an insolvent;

·         has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Central Government, involves moral turpitude;

·         during his term of office engages in any paid employment outside the duties of his office;

·         is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body;

has acquired financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions.




[Section 8]

Main functions include technical audit of construction works of governmental organizations from a vigilance angle, investigation of specific cases of complaints relating to construction works and assisting CBI in its investigations involving technical matters.







The Central Government, corporations established by or under

  1. any Central Act,
  2. Government companies
  3. societies and local authorities owned or controlled by the Central Government


1.      advice on such matters as may be referred to it

2.      exercise superintendence over the vigilance administration of their various Ministries.



Offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, or CrPC, 1973


  1. exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment as it relates to the investigation of offences alleged to have been committed;
  2. inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made on a reference made by the Central Government wherein it is alleged that a public servant who’s an employee of the Central Government or a corporation established by or under any Central Act has committed an offence;
  3. review the progress of investigations conducted by the Delhi Special Police Establishment into offences alleged to have been committed;



Other functions

  1. give directions to the Delhi Special Police Establishment for the purpose of discharging the responsibility entrusted to it under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946;
  2. review the progress of applications pending with the competent authorities for sanction of prosecution under the PCA, 1988;




[Section 9]

The Commission shall be deemed to be a civil court. Every proceeding before the Commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding. Hence the Commission has the power to

1.      summon and enforce the attendance of any person;

2.      require discovery and production of any document;

3.      receive evidence on affidavits;

4.      requisition any public record or a copy from court;

5.      issue commissions for examination of witnesses etc.

The proceedings of the Commission shall be conducted at its headquarters.

The Commission shall abide by the rules of procedure in regard to the transaction of the business as provided by regulations.

If the Central Vigilance Commissioner is for any reason unable to attend any meeting of the Commission, the senior most Vigilance Commissioner present at the meeting, shall preside at the meeting.

No act or proceeding of the Commission shall be invalid merely by reason of-

1.      any vacancy in, or any defect in the constitution of, the Commission; or

2.      any defect in the appointment of a person acting as the Central Vigilance Commissioner or as a Vigilance Commissioner; or

3.      any irregularity in the procedure of the Commission not affecting the merits of the case.



The CVC is not an investigating agency. The only investigation carried out by the CVC is that of examining Civil Works of the Government which is done.

There are certain limitations to CVC. These are

  1. CVC is only an advisory body. Central Government Departments are free to either accept or reject CVC's advice in corruption cases.
  2. CVC does not have adequate resources compared with number of complaints that it receives. It is a very small set up with sanctioned staff strength of 299. Whereas, it is supposed to check corruption in more than 1500 central government departments and ministries.
  3. CVC cannot direct CBI to initiate inquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above on its own. Such permission has to be obtained from the concerned department.
  4. CVC does not have powers to register criminal case. It deals only with vigilance or disciplinary cases.
  5. CVC has supervisory powers over CBI. However, CVC does not have the power to call for any file from CBI or to direct CBI to investigate any case in a particular manner.
  6. CVC cannot make direct appointments as it is indirectly under the control of Govt. of India. Though the leader of the Opposition (in Lok Sabha) is a member of the Committee to select CVC and VCs. But the Committee considers candidates put up before it.
  7. Corruption investigations against government officials can proceed only after the government permits them.

As a result, although CVC is relatively independent in its functioning, it has neither resources nor powers to inquire and take action on complaints of corruption that may act as an effective deterrence against corruption.

Hence, CVC is often considered a powerless agency as it is treated as an advisory body only with no power to register criminal case against government officials or direct CBI to initiate inquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above.

Did you find this write up useful? YES 9 NO 0
Shiv Kanti   6 Nov 2022 9:54am
To 06.11.2022 The Commissioner/Member Central Vigilance Commissioner Barakhamba Road New Delhi Is all above then all? Culprits HC Sarvesh Kumar, P.S.Patel read more
Rohit yadav   19 Sep 2020 2:27pm
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