Plea to make officials' appraisal reports public
performance appraisal reports of government staffers, officially
known as the Annual Confidential Report (ACR), may not be
confidential anymore, with a petition before the Delhi High Court
seeking to make them available under the RTI Act in "public
The Delhi High Court Tuesday reserved its order on a plea that
government employees' performance appraisal reports, officially
known as the annual confidential report (ACR), should be available
under the Right to Information (RTI) Act in "public interest".
RTI activist and petitioner R.K. Jain raised the question whether
an ACR relating to his public duty can be termed as his "personal
information" and whether their disclosure will infringe on his
According to a circular issued by the ministry of personnel and
public grievances in 2007, "an ACR contains information about the
character, capability and other attributes of the officials,
disclosures of which to any other person would cause unwarranted
invasion of privacy".
ACRs are the basis on which the officials' increments are given.
Officials are rated as "extraordinary/very good/good/poor". In
order to be promoted, the assessee would have to earn an
"extraordinary" or "very good" thrice.
Stating that under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, only personal
information is exempted from public disclosure, the petitioner
argued that ACRs do not come under this category.
The petitioner, who is also the editor of the Excise Law Times,
challenged the earlier order, adding that "larger public interest
warrants disclosure of all ACRs, when required, under the RTI
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, argued:
"The ACRs contain no personal information of the officer
concerned, except date of birth, date of joining government,
employment code, job qualifications and courses attended during
the period which is merely routine data about the officer and
available otherwise as well."
Bhushan said "only those information, which relate to personal
information 'which has no relation to any public activity or
interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of
the individual', is exempted from disclosure".
"And the information pertaining to performance of the public duty
of a public servant cannot to be exempted from disclosure under
the RTI Act," Bhushan added.
Manisha Dhir, counsel for central government, opposed the plea
saying ACRs were exempted from disclosure as these were related to
personal information on public servant.