Home >> Vigilance >> Role and Functions of Chief Vigilance Officer


Role and Functions of Chief Vigilance Officer

As prescribed under CVC Manual, As stated above, the CVO heads the vigilance Division of the organisation concerned and acts as a special assistant/advisor to the chief executive in all matters pertaining to vigilance. He also provides a link between his organisation and the Central Vigilance Commission and his organisation and the Central Bureau of Investigation. Vigilance functions to be performed by the CVO are of wide sweep and include collecting intelligence about the corrupt practices committed, or likely to be committed by the employees of his organisation; investigating or causing an investigation to be made into verifiable allegations reported to him; processing investigation reports for further consideration of the disciplinary authority concerned; referring the matters to the Commission for advice wherever necessary, taking steps to prevent commission of improper practices/misconducts, etc. Thus, the CVOs’ functions can broadly be divided into three parts, as under-

(i)   Preventative vigilance

(ii)  Punitive vigilance

(iii) Surveillance and detection.

 Preventive Vigilance:- While “surveillance” and “punitive action” for commission of misconduct and other malpractices is certainly important, the ‘preventive measure” to be taken by the CVO are comparatively more important as these are likely to reduce the number of vigilance cases considerably. Thus, the role of CVO should be predominantly preventive. Santhanam Committee, while outlining the preventive measures, that should be taken to significantly reduce corruption, had identified four major causes of corruption, viz.

(i) administrative delays;
(ii) Government taking upon themselves more than what they can manage by way of regulatory functions;
(iii) scope for personal discretion in the exercise of powers vested in different categories of government servants; and
(iv) cumbersome procedures of dealing worth various matters which are of importance to citizens in their day to day affairs.

The CVO is thus expected to take following measures on preventive vigilance side:

  1. To undertake a study of existing procedure and practices prevailing in his organisation with a view to modifying those procedures or procedures or practices which provide a scope for corruption, and also to find out the causes of delay, the points at which delay occurs and device suitable steps to minimize delays at different stages;

  2. To undertake a review of the regulatory functions with a view to see whether all of them are strictly necessary and whether the manner of discharge of those functions and exercise of powers of control are capable of improvement;

  3. To device adequate methods of control over exercise of discretion so as to ensure that discretionary powers are not exercised arbitrarily but in a transparent and fair manner;

  4. To educate the citizens about the procedures of dealing with various matters and also to simplify the cumbersome procedures as far as possible;

  5.  To identify the areas in his organisation which are prone to corruption and to ensure that the officers of proven integrity only are posted in those areas;

  6. To prepare a list of officers of doubtful integrity-The list would include names of those officers who, after inquiry or during the course of inquiry, have been found to be lacking in integrity, such as
    • (a) Officer convicted in a Court of Law on the charge of lack of integrity or for an offence involving Moral turpitude but who has not been imposed a            penalty of dismissal, removal or compulsory retirement in view of exceptional circumstances;
    • (b) Awarded departmentally a major penalty on charges of lack of integrity or gross dereliction of duty in protecting the interest of government although      corrupt motive may not be capable of proof;
    • (c) against whom proceedings for a major penalty or a court trial is in progress for alleged acts involving lack of integrity or moral turpitude; and        
    • (d) who was prosecuted but acquitted on technical grounds as there remained a reasonable suspicion about his integrity;
  7.   To prepare the “agreed list” in consultation with the CBI- This list will include the names of officers against whose honesty or integrity there are complaints, doubts or suspicions;

  8. To ensure that the officers appearing on the list of officers of doubtful integrity and the agreed list are not posted in the identified sensitive/corruption prone areas;

  9. To ensure periodical rotations of staff; and

  10. To ensure that the organization has prepared manuals on important subjects such as purchases, contracts, etc. and that these manuals are updated from time to time and conform to the guidelines issued by the Commission.

Punitive Vigilance- The CVO is expected to scrutinize reports of Parliamentary Committees such as Estimates Committee, Public Accounts Committee and the Committee on public undertakings; audit reports; proceedings of both Houses of Parliament; and complaints and allegations appearing in the press; and to take appropriate action thereon. Predominantly, the CVO is expected to take following action on the punitive vigilance aspects:

  1. To receive complaints from all sources and scrutinize them with a view to finding out if the allegations involve a vigilance angel. When in doubt, the CVO may refer the matter to his administrative head;

  2.   To investigate or cause an investigation to be made into such specific and verifiable allegations as involved a vigilance angle;

  3. To investigate or cause an investigation to be made into the allegations forwarded to him by the Commission or by the CBI;

  4. To process the investigation reports expeditiously for obtaining orders of the competent authorities about further course of action to be taken and also obtaining Commission’s advice on the investigation reports where necessary;

  5. To ensure that the charge sheets to the concerned employees are drafted properly and issued expeditiously;

  6. To ensure that there is no delay in appointing the inquiring authorities where necessary;

  7. To examine the inquiry officer’s report, keeping in view the evidence adduced by the prosecution and the defence during the course of inquiry, and obtaining orders of the competent authority about further course of action to be taken and also obtaining the Commission’s second stage advice and UPSC’s advice, where necessary;

  8. To ensure that the disciplinary authority concerned, issued a speaking order, while imposing a punishment on the delinquent employee. The order to be issued by the disciplinary authority should show that the disciplinary authority had applied its mind and exercised its independent judgment;

  9. To ensure that rules with regard to disciplinary proceedings are scrupulously followed at all stages by all concerned as any violation of rules would render the entire proceedings void;

  10. To ensure that the time limits prescribed by CVC for processing the vigilance cases at various stages are strictly adhered to.

 Surveillance and Detection- the CVO should conduct regular and surprise inspections in the sensitive areas in order to detect if there have been instances of corrupt or improper practice by the public servants. He should also undertake prompt and adequate scrutiny of property returns and intimations given by the public servants under the conduct rules and proper follow up action where necessary. In addition, he should also gather intelligence from its own sources in whatever manner he deems appropriate about the misconduct/malpractices having been committed or likely to be committed. CVO should invariably review all pending matters, such as investigation reports, disciplinary cases and other vigilance complaints/cases in the first week of every month and take necessary steps for expediting action on those matters.