Central Vigilance Commission of India | Functions and Setup

Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is an apex Indian governmental body created in 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam to address governmental corruption and to to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance. It has the status of an autonomous body, free of control from any executive authority, charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India, and advising various authorities in central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.

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CBI | Central Bureau of Investigation | Functions and Setup

During the period of World War II, a Special Police Establishment (SPE) was constituted in 1941 in the Department of War of the British India to enquire into allegations of bribery and corruption in the war related procurements. Later on it was formalized as an agency of the Government of India to investigate into allegations of corruption in various wings of the Government of India by enacting the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 . In 1963, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was established by the Government of India with a view to investigate serious crimes related to Defence of India, corruption in high places, serious fraud, cheating and embezzlement and social crime, particularly of hoarding, black-marketing and profiteering in essential commodities, having all-India and inter-state ramifications. CBI derives its legal powers to investigate crime from the DSPE Act, 1946. 

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India's Anti Corruption Initiatives

Legislation: The Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and its 2008 amendment is a specialised law aimed at curbing corruption in India. It criminalises corruption in the public and private sector in the form of attempted corruption, active and passive bribery, extortion, bribery of foreign public officials, abuse of office, and money laundering. Public servants' involvement in private sector activities is also restricted by law. Moreover, a Prevention of Money Laundering Act has been in force since 2002.The Right to Information Act (RTI Act), which took effect in October 2005, has played a central role in the fight against corruption in India. According to the RTI Act, citizens have the right to access government documents within 30 days from the filing of the request. Thereby, a mechanism of control of public spending has been granted to ordinary citizens. Some commentators are enthusiastic about the effects of the RTI Act, while others point at the difficulty citizens from rural areas have to make full use of the law and to the need of making citizens and public servants more aware of the RTI Act. For example, among others, Reuters has pointed out in a July 2010 article that the RTI Act measure has largely failed to reach the country's poor. Read more about the RTI Act and different views about its implementation on the Transparency Reviews regularly published by the Centre for Media Studies. India signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2003, and after continuous delays it was finally ratified May 2011.

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What is Jan Lok Pal, Why it is so important to India

The Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's ombudsman Bill) is a draft anti-corruption bill drawn up by prominent civil society activists seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent body  that would investigate corruption cases, complete the investigation within a year and envisages trial in the case getting over in the next one year.

Drafted by Justice Santosh Hegde (former Supreme Court Judge), Prashant Bhushan (Supreme Court Lawyer) and Arvind Kejriwal (RTI activist), the draft Bill envisages a system where a corrupt person found guilty would go to jail within two years of the complaint being made and his ill-gotten wealth being confiscated. It also seeks power to the Jan Lokpal to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without government permission.

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How to tackle Black Money

R. Viswanathan published an informative article on ways to tackle black money in The Hindu BusinessLine

How black money is generated?
All forms of corruption involve generation of black money.It is generated even in legitimate transactions, such as fees paid to a professional or in a land/house deal and various other transactions. A vast majority of people generate black money by evading taxes – income, sales, VAT and similar levies.  In many land/house deals, the property is undervalued to evade some stamp duty and registration charges.Black money is stashed away in foreign tax havens, gold or precious metals and land/houses. And, politicians spend a portion of their ill-gotten wealth in spending for elections.

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Lokayukta: Setup and Functions

Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman organised at the state-level.The Administrative Reforms Commission(ARC) headed by Morarji Desai submitted a special interim report on "Problems of Redressal of Citizen's Grievances' in 1966. In this report, the ARC recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as 'Lokpal' and 'Lokayukta' for the redressal of citizens' grievances.

Appointments of Lokayukta 
  • Lokayukta shall be appointed by the Governor of the state in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.

Qualifications of Lokayukta
  • Chief Justice (retired) of any high court in India, or a judge of a high court for seven years. Lokayukta shall not be a member of Parliament or a member of the Legislative of any state or Union Territory and shall not hold any other office of profit and shall not be connected with any political party or be carrying on any business or practice any profession. The office has a term of five years.

  • The LokAyukta helps people bring corruption to the fore mainly amongst the politicians and officers in the government service. It is to be noted that the LokAyukta conducts raids. But surprisingly, it does not have binding powers to punish anyone but only recommend punishment. Reduction in rank, compulsory retirement, removal from office, stoppage of annual increments and censure are some of the frequently seen recommendations given by the Lokayukta to the government. The state can either accept the recommendations or modify them. The public servant concerned can challenge the decision in the state high courts or specialised tribunals.

  • Written complaints are required from complainants by the Lokayukta office for investigation. If the complaint takes the form of an allegation, the office insists on the filing of an affidavit. Most of the complainants received turned out to be “anonymous, pseudonymous, and trivial in nature or not made on prescribed forms or were submitted without affidavits. “Many did not pursue their allegations when asked to file them in an affidavit format. Lokayuktas can either investigate the complaints using their suo motu powers under the state Act concerned or forward them to the heads of the departments under the scanner for action or act as a mediator between the citizen and the government servant against whom the complaint is made.

Major shortcomings of Lokayukthas:
  • Its a one man army with limited resources and powers, and the success of the entire mechanism depends solely on the personal qualities of the individual Lokayukta
  • Non uniformity of Acts in states
  • Many areas of administration are outside the jurisdiction of Lokayukta
  • Some states have prescribed fee for lodging complaints, for example Madhya Pradesh is one of them.
  • Non-cooperative attitude of authorities and lack of independent investigating authority
  • Orissa was the first state to pass the Ombudsman legislation in 1970 and also the first to abolish it in 1993.

Future of Lokayukta
  • An amendment to the Constitution has been proposed to implement the Lokayukta uniformly across Indian States. The proposed changes will make the institution of Lokayukta uniform across the country as a three-member body, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or high court chief justice and comprise the state vigilance commissioner and a jurist or an eminent administrator as other members.
Latest News on Lokayukta
  • 28-July-2011 : Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde submits illegal mining report