The Supreme Court has reiterated that uncommunicated Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs), which are adverse to an employee, cannot be relied upon for purpose of consideration of promotion.
The bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul in Rukhsana Shaheen Khan vs. Union Of India set aside the Delhi High Court judgment and directed the competent authority to ignore the uncommunicated adverse ACRs and take a fresh decision in accordance with law.
“In view of the decision of this Court in Sukhdev Singh Vs. Union of India & Ors. reported in (2013) 9 SCC 566, there cannot be any dispute on this aspect. This Court has settled the law that uncommunicated and adverse ACRs cannot be relied upon in the process,” the bench said.
In Sukhdev Singh, a three-judge bench of the apex court had held that it was mandatory for the authority to have communicated adverse remarks to the employees, in the absence of which, it could not be considered to deny promotions.
The bench headed by Justice RM Lodha had observed: “In our opinion, the view taken in Dev Dutt that every entry in ACR of a public servant must be communicated to him/her within a reasonable period is legally sound and helps in achieving threefold objectives. First, the communication of every entry in the ACR to a public servant helps him/her to work harder and achieve more that helps him in improving his work and give better results. Second and equally important, on being made aware of the entry in the ACR, the public servant may feel dissatisfied with the same. Communication of the entry enables him/her to make representation for upgradation of the remarks entered in the ACR. Third, communication of every entry in the ACR brings transparency in recording the remarks relating to a public servant and the system becomes more conforming to the principles of natural justice. We, accordingly, hold that every entry in ACR - poor, fair, average, good or very good - must be communicated to him/her within a reasonable period.”