‘Government must apprise employees of their annual performance rating’

May 13th, 2008 - 12:53 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) In a significant verdict having bearing on the careers of millions of government employees, the Supreme Court Monday ruled that the government must apprise its employees of the annual assessment of their performance, irrespective of it being good or bad. A bench of Justice H.K. Sema and Justice Markandey Katju said it is mandatory for the government to let its employees know about their annual appraisal to enable them represent to the government if they did not find the evaluation satisfactory.

The bench gave the ruling on a lawsuit by retired Executive Engineer Dev Dutt of the Boarder Road Organisation (BRO), who was denied promotion to the next rank of superintending engineer in 1993 simply because his performance was not rated as “very good” during one of the five years preceding the year in which he became eligible for promotion.

His performance was rated as merely “good” in 1993, while the BRO service rules stipulate that employees with only “Very Good” five entries in their Annual Confidential Records during all the five years before the year of their promotion can be promoted.

Posted in one of the north eastern states, Dutt challenged denial of his promotion before the Gauhati High Court, contending that had he been apprised that his performance was rated as merely good in 1993, he would have made a representation against it and could have succeeded in getting his performance re-evaluated to his satisfaction.

But BRO contended before the high court that a “good” entry in the A.C.R. is not an adverse entry and as per a September 1987 order of the Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances, BRO was liable to convey only adverse A.C.R. entries to its employees to give them a chance to make representation against it and possibly get it upgraded.

Agreeing with BRO’s contention, Gauhati High Court dismissed Dutt’s appeal in 2001. It was against this high court ruling that Dutt came to the apex court.

The apex court allowed his appeal saying that denial of information on rating of performance, good or bad, by the government violated both the principles of natural justice and the right to equality, guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.

The court even struck down the September 1987 order of the Ministry of Personnel and all other similar rules of various government departments saying: “It is well settled in law 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.”

“All similar Rules/Government Orders/Office Memoranda, in respect of all services under the State, whether civil, judicial, police, or other service (except the military), will hence also be illegal and are, therefore, liable to be ignored,” the bench held.

“In our opinion, the non-communication of an entry in the A.C.R. of a public servant is arbitrary because it deprives the concerned employee from making a representation against it and praying for its up-gradation,” the bench said.

“In our opinion, every entry in the Annual Confidential Report of every employee under the State, whether he is in civil, judicial, police or other service (except the military) must be communicated to him, so as to enable him to make a representation against it,” the bench ruled.

While allowing Dutt’s appeal, the bench also ordered the government to pay him enhanced salary and pension that he could have received following his promotion in 1993.

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