Apex court to decide on downgrading service records
The Supreme Court Tuesday decided to examine if annual confidential service records of various government employees could be downgraded by authorities without consulting the affected employees.
A bench of Justice V. S. Sirpurkar and Justice Mukundakam Sharma decided to examine the legality of various government authorities’ usual way of performance appraisal of its employees on a lawsuit of army man Ashok Kumar who has challenged the government’s decision to downgrade his annual confidential record (ACR).
Issuing notices to the chief of the army staff and the defence ministry on Kumar’s lawsuit, the bench sought their stand in four weeks.
Kumar alleged in his lawsuit that his superior authorities neither heard him nor gave any reason for downgrading his ACRs.
The bench said it would examine if it was mandatory to inform an employee about his ACRs being downgraded and, if so, whether such downgrading can be done without assigning any reason.
Recruited in the Indian Army on May 6, 1985, Ashok Kumar had an “unblemished” track record for 24 years, but he was denied promotions after his superior officer allegedly with a “malafide” intention downgraded his ACRs.
Recruited as a mere operator, Kumar said, owing to his sheer dedication to the job, he was promoted to the rank of a naik and thereafter as havildar on Feb 1, 1994.
On July 6, 2004, after being posted to the Delhi Area Sig Coy and inspite of his “best performance”, his ACR was suddenly downgraded for 2004-2005, he alleged.
His subsequent ACRs for 2006-2007 were also downgraded to “below than average” despite his obtaining a “bravo grading” in qualifying test conducted on February 9, 2008, he said.
He alleged the downgrading was done by his superior officer, Capt Sanjay Kumar, “due to personal reasons” to deprive him of further promotion.