POLITY

Lokpal CVC CBI

Lokpal CVC CBI

LOKPAL

  • The India Against Corruption Movement that was led by Anna Hazare put pressure on the Central UPA government to form tougher legislations against corruption, namely, pass the Jan Lokpal Bill a.k.a. Citizen's Ombudsman Bill.

  • Movement led to passage of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, in both the Houses of Parliament.

  • The Bill received assent from President on 1 January 2014 and came into force on 16 January 2014.


Current Affairs POI – The first Lokpal of India was formed in 2019, with the Chairman being Retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose (incumbent).


What is Lokpal?

Lokpal is a Multi-member anti-corruption authority/ombudsman representative of public interest.


  • Appointment:
    A Search Committee prepares a panel of candidates, out of which members are selected and recommended by Selection Committee to the President.
    Members are finally appointed by the President with help of Selection Committee including PM as its chairperson.
    Lokpal consists of Chairman and a maximum of 8 other members.
    Of total members at least half, 50%, should be judicial members.
    At least half, 50%, members should be from among persons belonging to the SCs, the STs, OBCs, minorities and women.

  • Conditions of Service:
    Salaries, allowances etc. of the Lokpal chairperson will be the same as that for the Chief Justice of India.
    For other members, it is the same as that for a judge of the Supreme Court.

  • Term of Office:
    The tenure of members of Lokpal is 5 years or till the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.

  • Removal:
    Members are removed by the President on recommendation from SC within 3 months.
    They can be removed only on grounds of
    Proved misbehaviour or incapacity;
    Infirmity of body or mind;
    Insolvent;
    Paid employment outside the office.


  • Functions and Powers:
    -
    Jurisdiction of Lokpal extends over Prime Minister, Ministers, members of Parliament, Groups A, B, C and D officers and officials of Central Government.
    - PM is not included on allegations of corruption relating to international relations, security, the public order, atomic energy and space.
    - It applies to public servants in and outside India.
    - Includes the Lokpal’s own members under the definition of “public servant”.
    - According to the Act, all public officials should furnish the assets and liabilities of themselves as well as their respective dependents.
    - It has superintendence over, and gives direction to CBI:
    - If Lokpal has referred a case to CBI, the investigating officer in such case cannot be transferred without the approval of Lokpal.
    - Inquiry wing of Lokpal is vested with powers of a civil court.
    - May exercise its powers of confiscation of assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits arisen or procured by means of corruption in special circumstances.
    - Has the power to recommend transfer or suspension of public servant connected with allegation of corruption.
    - Has power to give directions to prevent the destruction of records during the preliminary inquiry.

Details can be found on official website of Lokpal here.


Drawbacks and Limitations:
- Cannot be nonpartisan, as search and selection committee members come from political parties.
- Does not include Judiciary in its jurisdiction.
- No hardbound immunity to whistleblowers.
- Not constitutionally backed.


CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION

  • Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is a governmental body that was created in 1964 in order to tackle governmental corruption and to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance.

  • CVC is free from executive control, i.e., it is an autonomous body.

  • Statutory status was conferred on CVC in 2003 by Parliament of India.

Current Affairs POI –

  • Nittoor Srinivasa Rau was the first Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India.

  • Sanjay Kothari is incumbent Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India, appointed on 25 April 2020.

  • What is the Central Vigilance Commission of India?
    CVC is the apex vigilance institution of India which has been made a multi member Commission with statutory status.
    CVC Bill was passed by both the houses of Parliament in 2003, and received President’s assent on September 11, 2003.
    It is an independent body which is only responsible to the Parliament.
    Not controlled by any Ministry/Department.
    Free of control from any executive authority.


  • Appointment:
    - The Commission consists of one Chief Vigilance Commissioner, equivalent to chairperson, and not more than two Vigilance Commissioners (members).
    - Members are appointed by the President by a warrant under his hand and seal.
    - President appoints members on recommendation by committee consisting of
    - Prime Minister;
    - Minister of Home Affairs (MHA);
    - Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.

  • Term of Office:
    Members serve a tenure of 4 years from date of appointment, or up to age 65, whichever is earlier.
    Are not eligible for further employment after their tenure.

  • Removal:
    For removal, Vigilance Commissioners must be referred to SC for enquiry by the President.
    Member is removed from office on the following grounds –
    Proved misbehaviour or incapacity;
    Insolvency;
    Infirmity of mind or body;
    Paid employment outside the office.

  • Functions and Powers:
    Jurisdiction of CVC extends over –
    Members of All India Service serving in connection with the affairs of the Union and Group A officers of the Central Government;
    Officers of the rank of Scale V and above in the Public Sector Banks;
    Officers in Grade D and above in Reserve Bank of India, NABARD and SIDBI;
    Chief Executives and Executives on the Board and other officers of E-8 and above in Schedule ‘A’ and ‘B’ Public Sector Undertakings;
    Chief Executives and Executives on the Board and other officers of E-7 and above in Schedule ‘C’ and ‘D’ Public Sector Undertakings;
    Managers and above in General Insurance Companies;
    Senior Divisional Managers and above in Life Insurance Corporations;
    Officers drawing salary of Rs.8700/- p.m. and above on Central Government D.A. pattern;
    The CVC in itself is not investigatory in nature.
    It gets investigations done via CBI or through Chief Vigilance Officers (CVO) in government offices.
    Enquires into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
    Monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government; superintend vigilance departments of government ministries.
    Advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilant work.
    Lokpal refers complaints to CVC who initiate a preliminary inquiry in respect of officers and officials of Groups A, B, C & D.

Details can be found on the official site, here.


  • Limitations:
    CVC is only “relatively independent”.
    Does not have the resources or the power to take action on complaints of corruption.
    No power to register criminal case against government officials or direct CBI to initiate inquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above.
    Treated as a mere advisory body.


CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigation agency of India.

  • Originally, the CBI was set up to investigate bribery and governmental corruption, Subsequently, in 1965 it received expanded jurisdiction to investigate breaches of central laws enforceable by the Government of India, multi-state organized crime, multi-agency or international cases.

  • Headquartered in New Delhi, the CBI is known to investigate several economic crimes, special crimes, cases of corruption and other cases.

  • CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act.

POI - In 2013, the Gauhati High Court ruled that the CBI is an unconstitutional body, as it has no Constitutional backing. However, the Supreme Court stayed the verdict.

Current Affairs POI –

  • D.P. Kohli was the founding director of the CBI, who held the office from 1 April 1963 to 31 May 1968.

  • Rishi Kumar Shukla is current director of CBI, appointed on February 02, 2019.

  • Establishment:
    Originally established under the Special Police Establishment in 1941, to investigate cases of corruption during the Second World War.
    Subsequently, the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption recommended the establishment of the CBI.
    Formed by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs Ministry. Eventually, the Ministry of Personnel took over the responsibility of the CBI and now it functions as an attached office.

  • Appointment of Director:
    Until 2014, the Director of CBI was appointed under the Delhi Special Police Establishment, 1946.
    In 2014, the Lokpal Act provided a committee for appointment of CBI Director:
    Headed by Prime Minister
    Other members - Leader of Opposition or Leader of the single largest opposition party, Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge.
    Home Ministry sends a list of eligible candidates to DoPT. Then, the DoPT prepares the final list on basis of seniority, integrity, and experience in the investigation of anti-corruption cases, and sends it to the committee.
    Director of CBI has been provided security of 2 year tenure, by the CVC Act, 2003.


  • Functions and Powers:
    Anti-Corruption:
    Investigation of cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act and maintenance of integrity in administration.
    It works under the supervision of the CVC in matters pertaining to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
    Economic Crimes:
    Investigates matters in relation to violation of economic and fiscal laws, such as customs and excise, export and import control, income tax, foreign exchange regulations.
    Special Crimes:
    investigation of serious and organized crime under the Indian Penal Code and other laws on the requests of State Governments or on the orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts - such as cases of terrorism, bomb blasts, kidnapping for ransom and crimes committed by the mafia/the underworld.
    Suo Motu Cases:
    CBI can take up suo motu investigation of cases only in Union Territories
    Jurisdiction of CBI extends to matters only at the request of, or in consultation with the department concerned. CBI may also take up investigation of a case of public importance at the behest of a state government.
    Maintaining crime statistics and disseminating criminal information.
    India's officially designated single point of contact for liaison with the Interpol.

Details can be found on the official site, here.

  • Problems with CBI:
    Excessive politicization, bias and corruption in functioning. The CBI has been accused being the “handmaiden to the party in power” as it lacks autonomy. Since the CBI essentially operates under the Ministry of Personnel, complete autonomy is lacking as the Centre can exert direct and complete control over its functioning. The Supreme Court has called it a “caged parrot speaking in its master's voice”.

POI:

-  In its landmark judgment in Vineet Narain vs. Union of India (2003) the Supreme Court detailed the steps to secure autonomy for CBI. However.

-  In the infamous Coalgate scam case, the Supreme Court raised the question of the                        bureau’s independence and asked the Centre to make the CBI impartial and needs to be                ensured that the CBI functions free of all external pressures.

  • Most of the CBI’s detectives are members of the IPS on deputation. This further exacerbates the problem of autonomy as the CBI staff depends on the Government for future postings.

  • There is also an acute shortage of personnel due to mismanagement of the workforce.

  • Police is a State subject, and with CBI being essentially a police agency, it requires the permission of the State Government prior to carrying out investigation in a state. This results in unnecessary cumbersome procedure and serious delays in concluding investigation. This can lead to certain cases not being investigated.
    POI: Consent is given to CBI after change of government following an election. Recently, states like Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal withdrew consent.

  • Need for Institutional Reform – Way Forward:
    -
    Removing CBI from Government Control – so long as CBI remains under the Ministry of Personnel, there will be no autonomy for the CBI and impartial and transparent investigation would be impossible.
    - Providing CBI a statutory status, separate from the Government, such as the CVC or CAG, to maintain the independence of the institution.
    - Implementing the recommendations of the 24th report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice on working of the CBI, which included the following:
    1. Strengthening human resources by increasing strength of CBI;
    2. Better investments in infrastructural facilities;
    3. Increased financial resource and administrative empowerment with accountability;
    4. Increased Powers (related to Union, State and Concurrent list of the 7th schedule of Indian constitution), to the CBI;
    5. Separate enactment under – "Central Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation Act" to replace DSPE Act.


To access the note on Anti-Corruption, click here.

Lokpal CVC CBI
Lokpal CVC CBI
Lokpal CVC CBI
Lokpal CVC CBI