The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is the body constituted by the Government in the year 1964 on the proposal of the Santharam Committee on the Prevention of Corruption. The body was established with an intention to check corruption in the Government departments. The Commission is an independent statutory body exempted from the authority of the executive. The CVC attained statutory recognition by an ordinance of 1998 and in September 12, 2003 the ordinance was replaced by The Central Vigilance Commission Act enacted by the Legislative Department under the Ministry of Law and Justice. The main purpose of the Act was to establish the Central Vigilance Commission to investigate the offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by the public servants working under the Central Government, Corporations constituted under the Act of Parliament, Government companies, and local bodies owned and managed by the Centre.

As provided under the Preamble, the Act entrusts the Central government to constitute the Central Vigilance Commission conferring certain powers and responsibilities and shall continue to function under the Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. The CVC shall comprise of the Central Vigilance Commissioner acting as the Chairman, maximum two Vigilance Commissioners to be the members, members from the All India Services or Civil Service having special knowledge in the field of vigilance, policy framing and general administration including administration of police service. It shall also consist of members from corporations constituted under the Central legislations or Government Company under the supervision and control of the Centre and person having practice in finance, law, banking, insurance, investigations, vigilance etc. The Central Government is empowered to appoint Secretary to perform certain functions for the Commission.

The President shall appoint the Chairman and the Vigilance Commissioners by warrant under his seal and hand, but according to the advice of the Committee comprising of the Prime Minister acting as the Chairperson, Minister of Home Affairs to be the member and leader of opposition from the Lok Sabha to be another member. The term of office of the Commissioner shall be four years or until he attains the age of 65 years whichever is earlier. The Commissioner and other members shall be removed from his office by an order of the President if proved misbehavior or incapacity by the Supreme Court. The President shall also remove the Chairman and members on any of the following grounds:

  • Declared insolvent;
  • Condemned to be an offender which involves moral turpitude;
  • Engaged in any employment for which he receives remuneration other than his official duties;
  • Unfit to perform his duties due to physical or mental infirmity;
  • Acquired financial interest which affects his function detrimental to the duties as the Central Vigilance Commissioner or other members.

The Commission is entrusted with certain responsibilities and powers under the Act. The Commission shall supervise the functions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment in connection with the investigation and analysis of offence that comes under the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988 or the offence committed by a public servant provided under the Criminal Procedure Code. It issues directions and orders to the Delhi Special Police Establishment to discharge the functions assigned to it according to Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. The Commission shall also inquire and review the developments of the complaints received against any officer for committing an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Act empowers the Commission to provide guidance to the Central government or the corporations, Government companies or any local bodies on the subjects submitted to it.

While conducting investigation, the Commission shall have the powers of a civil court under the Civil Procedure Code of 1908 and its proceedings are considered to be judicial proceedings under the Indian Penal Code.

The Act amended the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. The Government of India in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Department of Personnel and Training) Resolution, 1999 is repealed by the present Act. In 2004, the Central government formulated the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informer’s Resolution on April 21, which is famously called the Whistle Blowers Resolution which assigned the Commission the duty to keep the identity of the person making the complaint and also to take action against the person making vexatious grievances.