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Poll: Should Annual Confidential Report of Officials be disclosed under RTI?

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Thread: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act

  1. #369
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    Ravindrakumar Maheshwari
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    Malhotra Sir, Thanks, for the update. So, virtually, it is the PIO, who has to take a decision. If PIO wishes to disclose ACR, he has to rely on judgment of Hon'ble Kerala HC; and if he wishes to deny, he is free to rely on judgment of Hon'ble Delhi HC. Either way, he cannot be taken into task before the appellate forum. Well, I still feel, upon introduction of APAR (annual performance appraisal report), in place of ACR (annual confidential report), the ACR is no more confidential and has to be disclosed under the RTI since it is very well a document not relating to any personal activity of an employee.



  2. #370
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    Dr. S.Malhotra
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    The ratio goes in favour of Centre Of Earth Science Studies, ... vs Dr. Mrs.Anson Sebastian. It is a DB decision and going by the hierarchy , DB of HC shall prevail over Single bench .

  3. Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    May I request members to read these two important decisions on this issue:

    SUPREME COURT - Dev Dutt's case : SUPREME COURT ON ACR - DEV DUTT Vs UoI 12-5-2008.pdf

    As per Supreme Court (DB) judgment in Dev Dutt case (Civil Appeal No.7631 of 2002), ACRs are disclosable only to the officer(s) to whom they belong. These cannot be provided to third party. (Read para-39 of the Judgment).

    FULL BENCH OF CIC : CIC - ACRs NOT DISCLOSABLE TO 3RD PARTY -- EPFO Vs MRUDULA GHAI - CIC-SM-C-2011-000934-M-66093 d.pdf

    IC(SG)'s order dated 18-May-2011, has been overruled by the Full Bench (of Chief Information Commissioner + two Central Information Commissioners) decision dated 01-Sept-2011.

    Hence the ACRs/APARs are disclosable only to the officer to whom the ACR/APAR belongs
    - and not to any other persons.
    Satyameva Jayate सत्यमेव जयते

  4. #372
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    NK Agarwal
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act



    I have no legal knowledge but, based on logic, I feel, disclosure of ACRs to third party hinges on establishment of larger public interest by the Applicant/Appellant. In the instant case (Mr. Abassi), the larger public interest was required to be served by exposing the corrupt practice of getting the ACRs written by un-authorised officers and by exposing the malpractice etc. (Authority other that Reporting /Reviewing precluded from making entries - DOPT). thnks

  5. Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    The SC judgment clearly indicate the object and purpose of disclosure of ACR. The purpose of ACRs is also clear. ACR is a basic tool for identifying the strength and weakness of officers for pruning the system and used for career advancement in the system. ACR cannot be placed at the hands of competitors just to make leg-pulling and mud-slashing. It is the basic tool to assess the competitiveness of officers in a comparative field. Critically examined, disclosure of ACR to other than reported officer himself is exempted u/s 8(1)(d).
    Satyameva Jayate सत्यमेव जयते

  6. #374
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    NK Agarwal
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    Well, let me try to dispel some of the myths associated with ACRs (i )
    ACRs are not a basic tool to identify strengths and weaknesses of an officer – contrary to this it is an instrument for development of the officer, (ii) ACRs have a potential for leg pulling and mud-slashing between competitors – ACRs written as per laid down procedures, objectively and dispassionately have no such materials and gives opportunities to officers to correct their defects etc. if any, (iii) ACRs are basic tool to assess competitiveness – The bench mark conditions eliminates the competitiveness during selection process for promotion,

    Infact the problem in ACRs comes because of abuse of the instrument by the reporting/reviewing and accepting authorities and is a major cause of present day corruption in offices – its an arm twisting strategy to silence the honest officers.

    I am sure, in some of the Appeals before Apex Court and the CIC, we may see favorable decisions allowing disclosure of third part ACRs in cases of malpractice, malafide and abuse of the provisions of ACRs by the ACR writing authorities. Litigation by Applicant/Appellants is a costly affair hence, such cases comes before the courts rarely. thnks

  7. #375
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    Dr. S.Malhotra
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    39. In the present case, we are developing the principles of natural justice by holding that fairness and transparency in public administration requires
    that all entries (whether poor, fair, average, good or very good) in the
    Annual Confidential Report of a public servant, whether in civil, judicial,
    police or any other State service (except the military), must be
    communicated to him within a reasonable period so that he can make a
    representation for its upgradation. This in our opinion is the correct legal
    position even though there may be no Rule/G.O. requiring communication
    of the entry, or even if there is a Rule/G.O. prohibiting it, because the
    principle of non-arbitrariness in State action as envisaged by Article 14 of the Constitution in our opinion requires such communication. Article 14
    will override all rules or government orders.
    I fail to agree with Sh. Raveena . Neither the referred Judgment is on the matter of sypply of ACR to others , nor the SC has dwelled upon that point . It only holds that all the entries in ACR of an employee should be conveyed to him [ others have not been barred ] .

    On the contrary , note para 40 which states of right to make a representation against the entry to the concerned authority .

    para 40 :
    We further hold that when the entry is communicated to him the
    public servant should have a right to make a representation against the entry
    to the concerned authority, and the concerned authority must decide the
    representation in a fair manner and within a reasonable period. We also
    hold that the representation must be decided by an authority higher than the
    one who gave the entry, otherwise the likelihood is that the representation
    will be summarily rejected without adequate consideration as it would be an
    appeal from Caesar to Caesar. All this would be conducive to fairness and
    transparency in public administration, and would result in fairness to public
    servants. The State must be a model employer, and must act fairly towards
    its employees. Only then would good governance be possible.
    thus there is nothing either private and personal in ACR , nor the Hon'ble SC has barred the disclosure to 3rd party either expressly or by implication .

    Ratio clearly goes presently in favour of Judgment by HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM in
    Centre Of Earth Science Studies, ... vs Dr. Mrs.Anson Sebastian, ... dt 17 February, 2010
    it is by DB
    Last edited by dr.s.malhotra; 18-12-11 at 11:57 AM. Reason: addition

  8. Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    39. In the present case, we are developing the principles of natural justice by holding that fairness and transparency in public administration requires that all entries (whether poor, fair, average, good or very good) in the Annual Confidential Report of a public servant, whether in civil, judicial, police or any other State service (except the military), must be communicated to him within a reasonable period so that he can make a representation for its upgradation. This in our opinion is the correct legal position even though there may be no Rule/G.O. requiring communication of the entry, or even if there is a Rule/G.O. prohibiting it, because the principle of non-arbitrariness in State action as envisaged by Article 14 of the Constitution in our opinion requires such communication. Article 14 will override all rules or government orders.
    I fully agree with Mr Malhotra, that ACR to be given to the officer reported upon - and that is the decision of SC also. There is no express or implied decision to disclose ACR to third parties - the SC judgment clearly indicate the objective of disclosing the ACR to the reported officer. It is pertinent to note that the Officer reported upon was barred to access his own ACR before SC judgment. The SC judgment only permitted access to the officer reported upon only. The question of access to third party therefore does not arise. It is based on this decision that the DoPT had issued directives to supply ACR/now APAR to all reported officers suo moto. There is no express or implied provision to supply ACR/APAR to third party.

    On the other hand, the CIC Full Bench decision has clearly indicated that ACRs are not disclosable to third party. ACRs were always held to be undisclosable to third party. The only confusion was that of IC(SG)'s decision, which now stand overruled by Full Bench of CIC.
    Satyameva Jayate सत्यमेव जयते



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