The Central Information Commission has directed the Education Department of Delhi Government to change the way Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) are prepared so that it does not become "a tool of harassment and corruption".
The Commission asked the department "to make necessary changes to the practice of ACR preparation, in view of the fact that power to write ACR in the hands of superiors has become a tool of harassment and denial of crucial information like ACR" to one for personal vendetta. This "will compel the sub-ordinates to please the superiors at the cost of good governance practices for reasons of promotion, which is nothing but a form of corruption", Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said.
The case relates to Sunanda, who sought under the RTI Act her ACR for the year 2007-08 from the principal of a school in Sultanpuri area in the national capital. The principal of the school claimed, during the hearing, that unless Sunanda fills in the Annual Performance Assessment Report (APAR), it was not possible to furnish ACR to her.
It also came to light that there were hostilities between Sunanda and the officials of the Education Department who had allegedly threatened her with negative ACR. The Commission sought to know from the Education Department what alternative in the absence of ACR for the relevant period was made available to her.
The official said in such a situation, the ACR will be treated as 'non-reporting' and Sunanda, the RTI applicant, would be assessed on 'work and conduct'. "This reflect some personal rivalry between the officers of respondent authority which closes all the chances of objective assessment of performance of appellant and proper preparation of ACR," the Commission pointed out. "The appellant has right to work which includes right to advancement in career and she also has right to information to know about her own ACR which was not made available for the year 2007-08.
"Unless the ACR of the concerned period is made available to her, it is not possible for her to stand in the competition for her next promotion which is due in 2014-15," Acharyulu noted, as he directed to provide the applicant with her ACR or any alternative remedy.