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


    In government offices only chamchas and those abeting corruption have glowing APAR's. those who protest, complain and want change never get above average irrespective of what actual work he does. those who dont do any work at all and remain dormant even have very good grading. representation against grades dont affect any review as a senior officer will always endorse the view of his junior colleague because of chain corruption. I myself represented with 10 pages of facts but after one year I was communicated that the grading will remain unchanged.



  2. #402

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


    My experience suggests that ACRs should be completely opened up to RTI i.e. all ACRs of all should be made public. Power is abused not only to spoil one's ACR, but to unduly promote another at the cost of one or other seen/unseen victim.

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


    Dear Members,

    Pl find herewith attached a judgement related to this topic issued by the SIC of the Arunachal Pradesh.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  4. #404

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



    The order of the SIC Arunachal Pradesh is not a reasoned one.

  5. #405

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


    The latest judgment is hereby as follows and also available at State Information Commission Punjab - Orders 2009

    STATE INFORMATION COMMISSION, PUNJAB
    SCO No. 84-85, Sector 17-C, CHANDIGARH.
    (SICP-HomePage)

    Dr. Harherpreet Kaur, 5 RB, Duni Chand Road,
    Amritsar. -------------Appellant
    Vs.
    The Public Information Officer
    o/o the Director Research and Medical Education,
    SCO 87, Sector 40-C, Chandigarh.

    FAA-the Principal Secretary to Govt. of Punjab,
    Department of Research and Medical Education,
    Chandigarh. -------------Respondents.

    AC No. 369 of 2012
    ORDER

    The present appellant had submitted an application dated 24.11.2011 to the PIO/Director Research and Medical Education, Punjab, Chandigarh seeking photocopies of the Annual Performance Assessment Report (APARs) for the year 2010-11 in respect of her three colleagues namely Dr. Tejinder Sikri, Dr. Jasbir Kumar and Dr. Jaswant Singh, all Assistant Professors in Government Medical College, Amritsar. The PIO, after observing the procedure laid down under Section 11 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, conveyed to the information-seeker that “the information being third party information, the concerned doctors were asked for the objections, if any. The doctors have objected and had requested not to supply the information being third party information. The request for supply of the information is rejected.” Thereafter, the information-seeker moved the Principal Secretary to Government of Punjab, Department of Research and Medical Education on 7.1.2012, by way of first appeal, but did not get any relief. She has now moved the State Information Commission, Punjab by way of second appeal. Notice was issued to the respondent-department as also to the three affected doctors. The stand of the PIO/respondent-department is that the information was withheld, since the three affected third parties had objected to its disclosure. But for their objections, the respondent department has no objection to the disclosure of the information. Dr. Tejinder Sikri, Dr. Jasbir Kumar and Dr. Jaswant Singh, who were given personal hearing by me, repeated their objection that the information relates to their personal affairs and is exempt from disclosure under the RTI Act. .
    2. I have heard the parties and gone through the record. The question of law involved in the present case is whether APARs are a third parties’ personal information protected under Section 8(1) (j) and Section 11 of the Act ibid. The respondents have not taken the plea, but it could also be argued that the APARs are held in fiduciary relationship under Section 8(i)(e) of the Act ibid.

    3. Before proceeding further, we may see the legal provisions. Section 8 (1) reads:-
    “8 (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen,—
    (e) information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;

    (j) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information:
    Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.
    Section 11 (1) reads:-
    11 (1) Where a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose any information or record, or part thereof on a request made under this Act, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall, within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to such third party of the request and of the fact that the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose the information or record, or part thereof, and invite the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed, and such submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information:
    Provided that except in the case of trade or commercial secrets protected by law, disclosure may be allowed if the public interest in disclosure outweighs in importance any possible harm or injury to the interests of such third party.”
    4. The appellant has relied on the decision of Manipur Information Commission in complaint case No. 31(b)/2011 titled as Smt. Salam (O) Th. Lilabati Devi vs. State Public Information Officer o/o the Director, Economics and Statics Department, Government of Manipur and another, decided on 5.9.2011. In this case, the information-seeker had sought information pertaining to comparative ACRs of the candidates considered in a Departmental Promotion Committee meeting held for promotion to the post of Head Clerk. The Manipur Information Commission had held that APARs is not personal information, but information relating to public functioning and its disclosure would not relate to Section 8(1) (j) of the Act ibid. The Commission relied on the decision of Guhati High Court in District and Sessions Judge, West Tripura District Agartala and another vs. Shri Shailabhadra Sinha, 2001(1)GLD(1) (GAV), wherein the petitioner had sought his own ACRs and minutes of the Departmental Promotion Committee. Information in respect of these was allowed by the Hon’ble High Court.
    5. The appellant has also relied on the decision of a DB of Kerala High Court in, Centre of Earth Science Studies vs. Dr. Mrs. Anson Sebastian and another, W.A. No. 2781 of 2009, decided on 17th February, 2010. In this case, information pertaining to confidential reports of six other employees was sought along with some documents pertaining to an inquiry against another employee. The plea of fiduciary relationship was also taken. The Court rejected both the pleas and held that Confidential Reports are essentially performance appraisal by higher officials, which along with other things constitute the basis for promotions and other service benefits. The Court referred to a Government of India’s Office Memorandum dated 14.5.2009 by which the Confidential Reports had been replaced by annual appraisal reports. Observing that the first respondent has grievance in her service and in order to satisfy herself about the propriety and correctness of promotions and other benefits given to similar employees, she wants details of the same, the Court observed that the Confidential Reports of the employees couldn’t be treated as records pertaining to personal information of an employee. The publication such reports is not prohibited under section 8 (1) (j). The Bench, therefore, concurred with the findings of the single Judge and dismissed the writ petition.
    6. Coming to the fact of the case before me, it is alleged that doctors junior to appellant have been promoted and she has been discriminated against. Surely, it is a matter in public interest. The appellant and her three colleagues are public servants drawing salary from the State Exchequer. Their promotion is determined on the basis of APARs. Once promoted, they draw higher salary and enjoy a better status in public service. The Annual Performance Appraisal Reports are personal to the extent that they pertain to the concerned individual employee. However, they are not personal in the sense that they relate to performance appraisal of a public servant in discharge of public functions, and not an assessment of his private or personal affairs. The APARs are public documents held in the custody by public authorities. These are used for man- management in public offices. The matters pertaining to promotion of public servants are matters of public interest and disclosure of information is for a public purpose. Even if we were to presume, though it has not been so alleged, that the APARs contain some personal information of the concerned employee and in addition, may also contain a self assessment by the employee, the fact remains that the information contained in APARs is related to and is relevant in the context of the public duties and functions of the concerned individual official. It is not personal information relating to private affairs. Besides what is protected under Section 8(1) (j) is “unwarranted invasion of privacy”. It is not disclosure of personal information per se, but such disclosure should lead to unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual. Disclosure of a public document relating to appraisal of public functions of a public functionary could never be unwarranted invasion of privacy. Rather its denial would be deprivation of the citizen’s right to know how public servants, paid form taxpayers deductions, are performing public obligations. If there were to be any doubt regarding disclosure of such information, it is removed by the Proviso to Section 8(1) (j) which states that an information which cannot be denied to the parliament or legislature, shall not be denied to any person. Surely, such information as asked by the appellant could not be withheld from the Legislature. Disclosure of the information sought by the appellant, in any case, therefore, is not prohibited by Section 8(1) (j).
    7. Section 11(1) is also subject to the Proviso which permits disclosure of information if the public interest outweighs in importance any possible harm or injury to the interests of such third party. The APARs may be confidential in nature but are freely circulated and available for consideration and evaluation in the government. The human resource management in government is based on APARs. There is, thus, a larger public interest in disclosure of these documents and it far outweighs in importance of any possible harm or injury to the interests of such third party officials. Disclosure would promote transparency in governance, which is the objective of the RTI Act. The Parliament enacted the law for setting out the practical regime of the right to information to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.
    8. Therefore, I have no hesitation in holding that there is nothing in the Right to Information Act which would debar withholding of information pertaining to APARs. Hence, the respondent is directed to furnish the information to the appellant within 15 days of this order. With this direction, the case is closed.

    ( R.I. Singh)
    June 28, 2012. Chief Information Commissioner Punjab

  6. #406

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


    Hon'ble RI Singh, CIC, Punjab is an excellent person, of high intlect and keeping exceptional judicious consciousness. He is an ex IAS and had decorated the post of Chief Secretary of Punjab, his reasoning is much appreciable.
    It is correct that there will always remain some people in favor and some people against, at this forum on this issue, but overall I am convinced fully by the logic of Hon'ble CIC of Punjab. I have been appearing a number of times before him, and a number of times he has declined by appeals, but still I appreciate him, as his every judgement was par excellence possible and my appeals actually deserved the fate, what he delivered and reasoned for in that judgement. And every time when he gave me relief, it was also beyond challenge also.

  7. #407
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    Sanjay Kumar Mishra
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    Dear All, Bali Sahab is right and also I feel so on the baasis of so many judgement delivered by Punjab CIC Mr. R.I.Singh. ACR is a confidential report which is reported by seniors on the basis of performance of jr. staff. If a staff is aware about his ACR they can realise and become more effecient in future, not only this, I am also agree with Ms Dhara that it will protect to promote relatives of higher authorities too. So in my view ACR should be come in the preview of RTI. Hon'ble Punjab and Haryana High Court already given its hand stating - Govt. employee can get his ACR through RTI. News reported in TIMES OF INDIA, CHANDIGARH DT. 17-6-2008 link given below for the reference.

    Govt staff can access ACR under RTI: HC - Times Of India

    S.K.MISHRA

  8. #408

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


    Quote Originally Posted by taurus View Post
    The order of the SIC Arunachal Pradesh is not a reasoned one.
    The single bench decision has been reversed fully by the full bench. EXCELLENT.

    While unjustified promotions hamper at personal levels, they burden the nation too in multiple ways. While salary is a burden, these promoted chaps go about doing hell in the decision making process.

    Manipur's 2nd decision is definitely welcome.

    RTI should definitely be used by all conscience based, good heart individuals to check irregularities in promotions, burdening the nation.

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