HC rejects plea to make ACRs public under RTI
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has rejected a plea for disclosure of the annual performance appraisal reports of public servants on the ground of the same being in public interest.
A bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw dismissed transparency activist R K Jain`s plea against the court`s single-judge bench order, saying that it has asked the Central Information Commission (CIC) to find out if it is in public interest to declare government servants` annual confidential report (ACRs).
"We, accordingly, do not find any merit in this appeal and the same is dismissed," the bench said.
The bench was hearing Jain`s appeal against the order of a single-judge bench, which had held the annual performance appraisal reports (APARs), previously known as ACRs, of a public servant were "personal information" under the RTI and hence, exempted from disclosure unless it was established a "larger public interest" warranted the disclosure.
Jain had sought setting aside the single-judge bench order and issuance of a direction to the Centre to disclose alleged "adverse" remarks in ACR of Jyoti Balasundaram, a member of Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) in 2000-01.
Jain earlier had approached the CESTAT`s Central Principal Information Officer, who had refused to "divulge any information on the ground that it was exempted under Section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act". The CIC had also declined the plea on the same ground.
The single, judge while dismissing the plea, had remitted it back to CIC to decide if such information is in public interest. It had said the disclosure sought was "third party information herein and the third party may plead a privacy".
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