J&K HC lays down new guidelines for recording ACRs of Judicial Officers

March 10:  In order to have better evaluation of the functioning of the Judicial Officers, the State High Court has issued new guidelines for preparation of Annual Confidential Record (ACR). Moreover, enough thrust has been laid on Special Confidential Record in order to have close appraisal about the suitability of any member of the J&K Civil Service (Judicial) and J&K Higher Judicial Service for confirmation or promotion.
According to the sources, the earlier guidelines of 2008 have been modified by way of issuance of new guidelines so as to ensure that all the aspects relating to the Judicial Officers’ knowledge of law and procedure, promptitude in disposal of cases, attitude towards superiors, subordinates and colleagues, dignity, honesty, integrity and impartiality and quality of judgments delivered are closely monitored.
Moreover, under the new guidelines, the monthly work turn-out would be recorded to assess the capability of the Judicial Officers to ensure prompt disposal of the cases, which is an issue of prime importance for the Supreme Court as well as J&K High Court, sources said.
“The issue of framing new guidelines was being deliberated upon by the High Court under the guidance of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar during the past some time and finally the guidelines were laid down in a Full Court meeting held on February 14, 2016”, sources said. Now, these guidelines have been formally issued by the Registrar General, M K Hanjura vide Notification No.1062 dated March 8, 2016.
The period for the purpose of recording Annual Confidential Record will be the year commencing from January 1 and ending by December 31 and in respect of a probationer, Confidential Record will be prepared for every period of four months of service till he/she is confirmed or probation is declared on its satisfactory completion. In respect of a member of the Service, who has worked for more than three months in more than one district in any year, separate Confidential Record for each such period will also be recorded.
A Special Confidential Record will be recorded by the Administrative Judge or District Unit Head whenever called for by the High Court in order to assess the suitability of any member of the Service for confirmation or promotion.
About preparation and transmission of records in respect of members of the Service other than District Judges, the guidelines say that the ACR shall be placed before the Administrative Judge for his opinion and in case the Administrative Judge, who ceases to be a Judge of the High Court, has not recorded his opinion before his relinquishment, his successor or the Judge nominated by the Chief Justice shall record his opinion on the confidential record.
“If any adverse remarks are recorded by the District Unit Head and not dissented from by the Administrative Judge, or if any adverse remarks are recorded by the Administrative Judge, then the Confidential Record shall be placed before the Chief Justice, who shall record his remarks”, said the guidelines, adding if a member of Service has worked for more than three months in more than one District in a year, all the District Unit heads concerned shall prepare and submit a Confidential Record in respect of such member for the respective period.
When a member of Service is transferred within three months, from one district to another, the District Unit Head of the District to which the member is transferred and working as on December 31 of the year shall prepare the Confidential Record of the member after obtaining required particulars for respective period from the District Unit Heads of the Districts from which he was transferred.
“All entries in Annual Confidential Record (ACR) or Special Confidential Record (SCR) shall be communicated by the Registrar General of the High Court or by any other officer authorized in this behalf by the Chief Justice to the member of the Service concerned within three months from the date on which the ACR or SCR is completed”, the guidelines further.
According to the guidelines, the pendency of any disciplinary proceedings will not be recorded in the ACR in respect of any member of the Service. However, a copy of the final order in all the disciplinary proceedings where a penalty is imposed will be included in the ACR.

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