The CVO's functions can broadly be divided into three parts:
While 'surveillance' and 'punitive action' for commission of misconduct and other malpractices is certainly important, the 'preventive measures' to be taken by the CVO are comparatively more important, as these are likely to reduce the number of vigilance cases considerably.
The Santhanam Committee, while outlining the preventive measures that should be taken to significantly reduce corruption, had identified four major causes of corruption, viz.
Government taking upon themselves more than what they can manage by way of regulatory functions
Scope for personal discretion in the exercise of powers vested in different categories of government servants
Cumbersome procedures of dealing wirth various matters which are of importance to citizens in their day-to-day affairs.
The CVO is thus expected to take following measures with respect to preventive vigilance:
To undertake a study of existing procedure and practices prevailing in his organization with a view to modifying those procedures or practices which provide 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;
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; To devise 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;
To educate citizens about the procedures of dealing with various matters and also simplify cumbersome procedures as far as possible;
To identify the areas in his organization which are prone to corruption and ensure that the employees of proven integrity only are posted in those areas;
To prepare a list of employees of doubtful integrity. The list would include names of those, who, after inquiry or during the course of inquiry, have been found to be lacking in integrity, such as those:
Convicted in a Court of Law on the charge of lack of integrity or for offence involving moral turpitude but who has not been imposed a penalty of dismissal, removal or compulsory retirement in view of exceptional circumstances.
Awarded departmentally a major penalty on charges of lack of integrity or gross dereliction of duty in protecting the interest of government, although a corrupt motive may not be capable of proof.
Against whom proceedings for a major penalty or a court trial is in progress, for alleged acts involving lack of integrity or moral turpitude. Who were prosecuted but acquitted on technical grounds, as there remained a reasonable suspicion about his integrity.
To prepare the 'agreed list' in consultation with the CBI. This list will include the names of employees against whose honesty or integrity there are complaints, doubts or suspicions;
To ensure that the employees appearing on the list of doubtful integrity and the agreed list are not posted in the identified sensitive/corruption prone areas;
To ensure periodical rotations of employees.
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.
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 the following action on punitive vigilance aspects:
To receive complaints from all sources and scrutinize them with a view to finding out if the allegations involve a vigilance angle. When in doubt, the CVO may refer the matter to his administrative head;
To investigate or cause an investigation to be made into such specific and verifiable allegations as involved a vigilance angle; To investigate or cause an investigation to be made into the allegations forwarded to him by the Commission or by the CBI;
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; To ensure that the charge sheets to the concerned employees are drafted properly and issued expeditiously;
To ensure that there is no delay in appointing the inquiring authorities where necessary;
To examine the inquiry officer's report, keeping in view the evidence adduced by the prosecution and the defense 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;
To ensure that the disciplinary authority concerned, issues 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;
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;
To ensure that the time limits prescribed for processing the vigilance cases at various stages are strictly adhered to.
Review all pending matters, such as investigation reports, disciplinary cases and other vigilance complaints in the first week of every month.
Review of Vigilance work done to be taken in the meetings by Secretary of Ministry/Dept.
Periodical meetings with the officers of CBI to discuss matters of mutual interests.
Ensure that monthly reports of the work done to be furnished to the commission by fifth day of following month.
Annual reports of the previous year on the work done on vigilance matters to be furnished to the commission by 30th January of succeeding month.
Ensure that QPR (Quarterly Progress Reports) on procurement are furnished to CTEs by 15th day of the month following the quarter ending.