SC directs govt to convey ACR entry to employee

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New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) The Supreme Court today ruled that the Government must communicate to an employee every entry made in the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) to enable him or her to represent against the entry to the competent authority for its upgradation.

A bench comprising Justices H K Sema and Markandey Katju also held, ''It is well settled that no rule or government instruction can violate Article 14 or any other provision of the Constitution as the Constitution is the highest law of the land.

''The aforesaid memorandum, if it is interpreted to mean that only adverse entries are to be communicated to the employee concerned and not other entries would, in our opinion, become arbitrary and hence illegal, being violative of Article 14.

''All similar rules/government orders/office memorandum, in respect of all services, under the state, whether civil, judicial, police or other services (except the military), will hence also be illegal and are therefore liable to be ignored.'' Justice Katju, writing the judgement for the bench, allowed the appeal of one Dev Dutt, who was denied promotion to the rank of Superintending Engineer in the Border Road Engineering Service and set aside the judgement of the Guwahati High Court, dated November 26, 2001, dismissing his petition.

The apex court further said, ''Thus, it is not only when there is a benchmark, but in all cases that an entry (whether it is poor, fair, average, good or very good) must be communicated to a public servant, otherwise, there is violation of the principle of fairness, which is the soul of natural justice.

''Even an outstanding entry should be communicated, since that would boost the morale of the employee and make him work harder.'' Relying on its own judgement in Menaka Gandhi's case, the apex court directed that the entry of 1993-94 must be communicated to the appellant forthwith and he should be permitted to make a representation against the same praying for its upgradation.

If the representation is allowed, the petitioner shall be promoted to the rank of Superintending Engineer retrospectively, as he has already retired and shall get the benefit of higher pension and the balance of arrears of pay, along with eight per cent interest per annum.

The entry shall be communicated within a period of two months and the petitioner will make the representation within two months and the same shall be decided within two months and the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) shall consider him for promotion retrospectively within three months.

Dev Dutt was promoted as Executive Engineer on February 22, 1988, and he became due for promotion to the post of Superintending Engineer on February 21, 1993. For promotion, five years of the ACR must have entries 'very good', but Dutt's one entry was good, therfore, he was denied promotion.

UNI SC SBC RP KN1832

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