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


The Commission shall consist of:

  • A Central Vigilance Commissioner - Chairperson;
  • Not more than two Vigilance Commissioners - Members;

They are appointed by the president on recommendations of a committee of PM + Home minister + leader of opposition Lok Sabha. They occupy post till age of 65 yrs or 4 year term. They are not eligible for any other govt appointment under centre or state after ceasing to hold office.


Removal is done by President on grounds of bankruptcy, unsound mind, infirmity of body or mind, sentenced to imprisonment for a crime, or engages in paid employment or has acquired financial or other interest that might affect his judgment.

He can also be removed for proved misbehaviour or incapacity if SC inquiry finds him guilty. They can resign by writing to president.


Powers and functions:

Exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) insofar as it relates to the investigation for corruption related cases

Give directions to the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) for superintendence for corruption related cases

To inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made on a reference by the Central Government

To inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made into any complaint received against any official belonging to All India service and group A.

Review the progress of investigations conducted by the DSPE into corruption related cases

Review the progress of the applications pending with the competent authorities for sanction of prosecution of corruption related cases

Tender advice to the Central Government and its organizations on such matters as may be referred to it by them

Exercise superintendence over the vigilance administrations of the various Central Government Ministries, Departments and Organizations of the Central Government

Shall have all the powers of a Civil court while conducting any inquiry

Respond to Central Government on mandatory consultation with the Commission before making any rules or regulations governing the vigilance or disciplinary matters relating to the persons appointed to the public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or to members of the All India Services

The Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is the Chairperson and the Vigilance Commissioners (Members) of the Committee, on whose recommendations, the Central Government appoints the Director of Enforcement

The Committee concerned with the appointment of the Director of Enforcement is also empowered to recommend, after consultation with the Director of Enforcement appointment of officers to the posts of the level of Deputy Director and above in the Directorate of Enforcement

The Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is also the Chairperson and the Vigilance Commissioners (Members) of the Committee empowered to recommend after consultation with Director (CBI), appointment of officers to the post of the level of SP and above except Director and also recommend the extension or curtailment of tenure of such officers in the DSPE (CBI)



CVC is only an advisory body. Central Government Departments are free to either accept or reject CVC's advice in corruption cases.

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.

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.

CVC does not have powers to register criminal case. It deals only with vigilance or disciplinary cases.

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. CBI is under administrative control of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). Which means that, the powers to appoint, transfer, suspend CBI officers lie with DoPT.

Appointments to CVC are 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. These candidates are decided by the Government.

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.

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

  1. Applies to all states except J&K. Does not apply to Army, Navy, Airforce, Navy,BSF, Coast guard, NSG.

  2. Trial is by a special judge and conducted on a day to day basis.

  3. No prosecution without sanction. But FIR can be lodged and investigation can begin.

  4. HC will hear appeals.

Chapter Review

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