The Central Vigilance Commission was set up in 1964 on the recommendation of Santanam Committee. The CVC was a one man Commission for about three and a half decades for exercising general superintendence over vigilance administration in the Government. Justice Nottoor Srinivasa |Rau became the first Central Vigilance Commissioner with effect from 19thFebruary, 1964. The Supreme Court of India , in criminal writ petitions nos.340-343/1993 (Vineet Narain and others Vs.Unionof India and others) popularly known as Jain Hawala case, had directed on 18.12.1997 that statutory status should be conferred upon the Central Vigilance Commission. It came on the statute book as the CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION ACT, 2003 (45 OF 2003).
The Central Vigilance Commission Act,2003 provides for constitution of Central Vigilance Commission to inquire or to cause inquiries to be conducted into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988 by certain categories of public servants . The Act also empowers the Commission to exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) now called Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Commission is also empowered to review the progress of investigations conducted by the CBI and the progress of applications pending with the competent authorities for grant of sanction for prosecution for offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988. The Commission also exercises superintendence over the vigilance administration of the various organizations under the Central Government.
The Commission’s jurisdiction to cause inquiry/investigation into alleged offences of corruption suo-moto extends only to the upper echelons of public servants viz. members of All India Services serving in connection with the affairs of the Union, Group ‘A’level officers of the Central Government and such level of officers in the corporations, Government companies, societies and other local authorities of the Central Government.
The emphasis of the Commission has been to have in place effective preventive measures to fight corruption and also to increase transparency and accountability in the functioning of the Government. In tune with the emphasis on good governance, the Commission closely looks at the prevailing systems and procedures of the Government departments and its organizations and recommends system strengthening and improvements. The Commission has also been continuously emphasizing on Leveraging technology by adopting e-procurement, e-payment, reverse auction etc. for reducing scope for corruption and improving transparency, equity and competitiveness in public procurement.
The Commission has been engaging with various international anti-corruption agencies/organizations, as a measure of international co-operation. Creating a Knowledge Management System for international Association of Anti –Corruption Authorities (IAACA) has been one of the recent collaborative initiatives.