There is a need to bring uniformity and transparency in evaluating judicial officers' work, says Delhi HC

Team SoOLEGAL 22 Aug 2018 5:30pm

There is a need to bring uniformity and transparency in evaluating judicial officers' work, says Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that there is a need to formulate guidelines to inject greater uniformity and some measure of transparency in evaluating the judicial officers' work and performance in the subordinate judiciary.

The directions were passed by a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sunil Gaur on a plea of a senior Delhi Higher Judicial service (DHJS) officer, Sujata Kohli.

The petitioner had alleged that the adoption of a resolution by the Full Court of the Delhi HC – that requires an eligible officer to have ‘A’ grade in the annual confidential reports (ACRs) for 5 years – violates her fundamental right to equality before the law.

The petitioner had, in fact, raised two issues before the Delhi High Court.

1.      Her first issue was that no new norm or criteria (i.e., the impugned revised criteria of securing 'A' grade in the last 5 ACRs) should have been evolved and implemented without prior notice,

2.      Her second issue was that she should have been communicated about ACR gradings of other officers (her juniors) to enable her to correct herself and improve her performance.

Raising these issues, Kohli said that the process adopted by the judiciary for selection and appointment, based on “five A gradings”, is opaque and lacks transparency.

The HC bench, however, rejected both of the contentions made by the petitioners.

In response to the petitioner’s first submission, the court said that had an officer known that a better grading is essential, she would have performed better. The court then held that every judge’s performance is expected to be her or his best.

Kohli’s second submission was rejected considering the fact that the method of appraisal of judicial officers is done in a manner that treats gradings given to each individual as confidential. Hence, it was not permissible to make the ‘gradings’ information public to all of the judicial officers.

However, while disposing of the writ petition, the Court observed that there is a need to maintain uniformity and transparency in the manner of grading judicial officers.

Tagged: ACR Grading   Delhi High Court   Judicial Officers Evaluation   Judicial Officers   Transparency  
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