2 Aug 2010

ACRs of judges to be duly recorded: Supreme Court

Coming hard on the non-recording of Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of lower court judges, the Supreme Court in a recent decision has directed that ACRs are to be duly recorded  and maintained as these form the pivotal basis for examination of the performance of the judicial officers. The Bench made these observations in the wake of a challenge by a probationer judge for his non-confirmation wherein one of the essential lacunae pointed out was the non-recording of the ACR.

The Bench made the following observation in this regard;
7. Even thereafter, the records were submitted to the concerned Judge of the High court and no Confidential Reports were recorded. All this demonstrates not a very healthy state of affairs in relation to the recording of Confidential Reports of the officers in the Judicial Services of the State of Karnataka. The Confidential Report of an officer is a proper document, which is expected to be prepared in accordance with the Rules and practice of the Court, to form the basis while considering the officer for promotion to higher post and all other service related matters, in future. Non-writing of the Confidential Reports is bound to have unfair results. It affect the morale of the members of the service. The timely written Confidential Reports would help in putting an officer at notice, if he is expected to improve in discharging of his duties and in the present days where 25% (now 10%) of the vacancies in Higher Judicial Service cadre are expected to be filled, from out of turn promotions after holding of written examination and interview. Highly competitive standard of service discipline and values are expected to be maintained by the Judicial Officers as that alone can help them for better advancement of their service career. In such circumstances, the significance of proper Superintendence of the High Court over the Judicial Officers has a much greater significance than what it was in the past years. In fact, in our view, it is mandatory that such Confidential Reports should be elaborate and written timely to avoid any prejudice to the Administration as well as to the officer concerned.
8. We do express a pious hope that Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court would examine this aspect and take corrective steps. We also do hope that appropriate decisions of the High Court are in place to ensure writing of Annual Confidential Reports in a comprehensive manner at regular intervals and timely. It is a matter which should invite the attention of all concerned without any further delay. We direct the Registry to send a copy of this Judgment to Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court to invite his kind attention to these aspects.

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