Disclose grading of ACRs during promotion: CIC

Says relative grading of the ACRs is the basis for recommending a certain officer for promotion

PTI | October 8, 2012



The relative grading of officers' annual confidential reports during their promotion is not a personal information and should be made public, the Central Information Commission has held.

Chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra said although the annual confidential reports of an officer are a personal information which should be disclosed only to him or her, its relative grading during promotion process should be made public.

"Since the relative grading of the ACRs is the basis for recommending a certain officer for promotion, this needs to be disclosed just as the caste certificate of a public servant needs to be disclosed since that serves as the basis for his appointment to the government service," Mishra said.

The case relates to an RTI application filed by Madhu Khare of Bhopal who sought to know from the Union Public Service Commission the grading chart of select list of 2001-02 for promotion from Madhya Pradesh Administrative Service to Indian Administrative Services.

The UPSC objected to disclosure of the chart claiming that it contained the gradings based on the ACRs and to that extent, the disclosure of this information would amount to the disclosure of personal information of other officers.

"In the present case, the appellant had not sought the copies of the ACRs. She has only wanted to know the manner in which the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) evaluated and assessed the individual ACRs of the officers and arrived at the grading in each case," Mishra said.

He said mere disclosure of the final relative grading will not help.

"Without the entire chart showing the complete assessment of every officer, it will not be clear how the officers have been assessed in a related matrix," he said.

Mishra said it is without doubt that the relative grading of the ACRs is an important input in the final decision of the DPC in recommending some officers for promotion while leaving out others.

"As held by us in several similar cases in the past, in any examination or evaluation process, certain details about the successful or recommended candidates must be disclosed in order to ensure transparency in the selection process," the CIC said.

He said therefor the relative grading of the ACRs "no longer remains personal information" and should be disclosed as it forms the very basis for the promotion of an individual officer.

"In the light of the above, we are of the view that the desired information, namely, the complete chart of the grading of the ACRs of the officers as assessed and evaluated by the DPC and recommended for promotion must be disclosed," the Chief Information Commissioner said.

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