The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has asked all Union ministries and departments to highlight its role while approaching Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to seek advice on the quantum of penalty in disciplinary proceedings against Group ‘A’ officers and officers of All India Services.
The practice of referring to CVC’s opinion while approaching UPSC had been done away with in December 2012 to avoid “difference of opinion” and “delay due to duality of authority”. The apex vigilance body is consulted at two stages in vigilance cases/disciplinary proceedings, which involves “first-stage advice” on the investigation reports, and “second-stage advice” before a final decision is taken at the conclusion of proceedings.
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The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had issued guidelines in 2011 asking to dispense with “second-stage advice” of CVC in disciplinary cases involving consultation with UPSC. The UPSC is consulted for the quantum of penalty against the concerned officer along with CVC, but the latter had taken a backseat for the past eight years due to DoPT guidelines.
However, it was observed that the move didn’t obtain the desired result and there were considerable delays in finalisation of disciplinary proceedings in those cases as well, wherein the proceedings were initiated on the advice of the apex vigilance body. “One of the reasons noticed for delay in such cases is that while approaching UPSC for advice about quantum of penalty on the charged officer concerned, the fact that the disciplinary proceedings were initiated on the advice of CVC in that particular case, is not highlighted by the organisations,” according to a communication sent by CVC on Monday.
Therefore, CVC added, it is desired that the authorities concerned, at the time of approaching UPSC for advice, with respect to such cases, “must highlight the fact that particular case was based on the First Stage Advice given by the CVC, so that the cases receives due attention with the authorities in UPSC and its advice is tendered on priority basis”.
“It may be done by superscribing the file cover of cases being referred to UPSC with words ‘Vigilance Case’ on a red sticker, similar to process being followed in respect of important files pertaining to urgent/time bound parliamentary matters and Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha questions etc,” the CVC letter added.
According to the CVC annual report 2019, it tendered its advice in 3,157 vigilance cases out of which 2,009 were “first-stage advice” and 453 were “second-stage advice”. Major penalty against officers were recommended in 110 cases out of 453 total cases under “second-stage advice”.