Annual Confidential Report- A Performance Record
Introduction of Annual confidential report –
The confidential reports of an employee are basically performance appraisals of the employee and constitute vital service records in relation to his career advancement .The basic principle is that the confidential re- ports should be written by a superior officer of high rank and that there should be another higher officer, in rank above the officer who has written the confidential report, to review such report.
The performance of a public servant in the discharge of his duties is a highly relevant matter while considering his entitlement to certain benefits-particularly those related to career advancement, e.g. promotion. As such, the system of appraising his performance and recording the same annually is generally in vogue in public services. These records are known as Confidential Reports (also Confidential Character Rolls or CCR)-although strictly speaking CCRs are compilations of the such re- ports.
Confidentiality of these reports are their essential characteristic. ‘Even the concerned officer has hardly any chance of knowing about the entries in such rolls prior to the making of such an entry. Objectivity and a dispassionate approach are also considered as essentials in this context.’ It has also been pointed out that maintenance of a confidential record of a Government servant is necessary in public interest.
Form and Content of ACR (Annual confidential report)
The form and content of the Annual confidential reports are generally prescribed by the service rules. For example, in relation to the All India Services and in exercise of powers conferred by the All India Services Act, 1951, the Central Government has made the All India Services (Confidential Rolls) Rules, 1970. The form in which the confidential report is to be written is specified in these rules. What the report should contain is also usually provided in the prescribed forms. But these matters may also be governed by administrative instructions and in such cases a deviation from such instructions without any rational and justifiable grounds would amount to violation of Arts.14 and 16 of the Constitution.”
Importance of Annual confidential report –
ACRS may be comprehensive enough to furnish requisite material to judge comparative merit for the purpose of promotion, and non-perusal of service register/record by itself will not vitiate the selection.”
What factors would amount to relevant consideration for making entries in character roll of an employee would depend upon the particular service in which he is engaged. For example, research work, done or not, may be a relevant consideration in the case of a lecturer in medical college.
The assumption that ACRS do not reflect details of awards, commendations and penalties is not correct.
While making entries in the character roll, proper assessment on the basis of objective standards should be made since character roll is the primary material which forms the basis for further progress of the employee in his service career. If an amendment was made in the form and a particular column was deleted, subsequent recording of adverse remarks in that very column which worked to the prejudice of the employee in the way of his promotion has been held to be impermissible.
Annual confidential report must be written by senior rank officer
The entry in the confidential report has to be made by the reporting officer who is the competent authority and under whom the reported employee must have worked for the prescribed period. There is no occasion for an officer superior to the reporting officer to make a record in the confidential character roll.
The competency may be lost after the reviewing authority has retired from service. Having regard to the Rules of Executive Business, a Division Bench of the Patna High Court has held that in the absence of the specified officer, the Chief 36 Minister who was in charge of a department was the competent authority and not the Minister of State who had been assigned the concerned department. It has also been pointed out that merely because the Governor is the Head of the State, a memorial for expunction of an adverse remark to him was not maintainable.
Types of authorities for recording the ACR (Annual confidential report)
The rules usually provide for a reporting authority, a reviewing authority and an accepting authority. The reviewing authority is the authority supervising the performance of the re- porting authority. The rules often make it obligatory upon the reviewing authority to review the confidential report within a particular time.32 The rules also usually re- quire that the reviewing authority shall not be competent to review any such report unless it has seen the performance of the employee for at least three months during the period for which the report has been written.
The accepting authority is the authority who supervises the performance of the re- viewing authority. After review, it is the accepting authority who is to accept the report with such modifications as he thinks fit. Here also,, the rules often prescribe a time limit within which he is to act.
The practice of making annual entries in the confidential records of employees has a public policy and purposive requirement and the annual entry must be based on going process of evaluation.