Ramesh Vs. State of Karnataka & Anr  Insc 175 (20 February 2007)
Dr. AR. Lakshmanan & Altamas Kabir
(Arising Out of SLP (C) NO. 23839 OF 2005) Dr. AR. Lakshmanan, J.
This appeal is directed against the order dated 27.9.2005 passed by the
Division Bench of the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in Writ Petition No.
33105 of 2000 filed by the appellant, S.T. Ramesh, IPS who is now
functioning as Inspector General of Police, dismissing the writ petition and
awarding cost to the second respondent.
The appellant herein filed original application before the Central
Administrative Tribunal, Bangalore for quashing of the communication of adverse
remarks under various headings as incorporated in the letter from the Chief
Secretary, Government of Karnataka, dated 9.12.1997. The Tribunal, by its
order, dismissed the Original application with costs of Rs.3000/- payable to
the second respondent, namely, Sri C. Dinakar, IPS.
Aggrieved against the same, the appellant filed writ petition before the
High Court which was also dismissed by the High Court. The appellant questioned
the correctness of the order passed by the Tribunal and of the High Court in
Before we proceed further, we shall reproduce the communication of adverse
remarks under various heads as incorporated in the letter dated 9.12.1997 from
the Chief Secretary which read as follows:
CHIEF SECRETARY VIDHAN SOUDHA BANGALORE- 560001 D.O.No.CS 26 IPS CR 9 Dated:
9.12.1997 Dear Shri Ramesh In your Annual Confidential Report for the period
from 16.10.1996 to 15.03.1997 your overall performance has been graded as
'Average' and the following adverse remarks have also been recorded:
QUALITY OF OUTPUT:
He did not use his optimum capacity and gave an impression as though his stint
in COD was a sojourn. This perhaps, became a constraint for the COD. There was
no willingness 'to add on' more responsibility and it was an attitude of thus
far and no further.
KNOWLEDGE AND SPHERE OF WORK:
He is knowledgeable in the profession and its related application but,
however, his 'paradigm' prevented him from performing better.
He could not appreciate the environment and the work culture as defined by
the Competent Authority in the COD and this block flow of new ideas or new
methods of work.
The 'Leader' in him went into hibernation.
This column needs to be read with the immediately preceding column. All the
management qualities, which very much exist in him, became dormant to the
dangerous extent of his not visiting a scene of occurrence in an important case
of rape and murder of a young girl student in Chitradurga.
INITIATIVE AND PLANNING ABILITIES:
On the only occasion when a group of agitators, after due intimation through
handbills, came and squatted outside the COD premises, he, for reasons best
known to himself, went out of the Office around that time and in the process,
his senior had to defuse the situation.
His decision making was governed by his 'paradigm'.
He has command over English and in his few files wherein he was preferred to
be elaborate, he has expressed himself clearly. However, his expression in
Kannada needs improvement. His presentation of arguments is also good but on a
certain occasion; he created an unpleasant scene with the DGP which was totally
His evaluation of some of his subordinates was clouded by some of 'His past
experiences' with them elsewhere.
INTER-PERSONAL RELATIONS AND TEAMWORK:
His professional relationship with one of his Senior Officers was marked by
cold hostility. It was lukewarm with others.
GENERAL BEARING PERSONALITY:
Anything but smiling.
Prefers to be aloof.
DEDICATION TO DUTY:
Depends on his convenience.
ATTENTION TO DETAILS:
Yes; but takes his own time; response time is not fast.
ABILITY TO TAKE A PRINCIPLED STAND:
It is clouded by his 'Paradigm'.
He has the capacity to deliver goods but cannot adjust to the organization
as a whole if he can't vibe with his seniors.
An arrogant Officer. His knowledge of work is good, but he cannot be
objective and impartial in discharging his duties.
Please acknowledge the receipt of this letter.
Yours Sincerely Sd/- illegible (B.K.Bhattacharya)"
While opposing the original application filed by the Appellant, Respondents
filed their written statement.
While denying the contentions made by the Appellant as factually incorrect,
the respondents have also submitted that they have taken appropriate action in
dealing with the representation submitted by the Appellant as per the
provisions of the Rules. It is also stated that the adverse remarks submitted
by both the Appropriate Authority and the Reviewing Authority without
disclosing the identity of the persons who wrote the adverse remarks in
accordance with the clarification issued by the Government of India under Rule
8 of the Rules and the comments of the Appropriate Authority and the Reviewing
Authority were obtained on the request of the Appellant for expunction of the
adverse remarks and that since both the Authorities have justified the adverse
remarks recorded by them, the first Respondent do not find any reason to
expunge the adverse remarks.
The case of the appellant in brief is as follows:
The appellant was selected to the Indian Police Service in the year 1976 and
allocated to Karnataka State by the Central Government. In the month of April,
1997, the appellant was promoted to the rank of Inspector General of Police.
From 1.4.1996 to 30.6.1996, the appellant discharged his duties as Director
Vigilance), KSRTC, in the rank of Deputy Inspector of Police. In the month
of July, the appellant was deputed to Olympic Games held at Atlanta, United
States of America. He was on compulsory waiting for some time.
On 16.10.1996, the appellant was posted as Deputy Inspector General of
Police, CID and he relinquished the said post on 17.4.1997 on his promotion to
the cadre of Inspector General of Police.
By letter dated 9.12.1997, the Chief Secretary informed the appellant that
in his Annual Confidential Report for the period from 16.10.1996 till
15.3.1997, the overall performance had been graded as "Average" and
certain adverse remarks had been recorded. On receipt of the letter dated
9.12.1997, the appellant submitted his representation as provided by Rule 9 of
the All India Services (Confidential Rolls) Rules, 1970 (for short, "the
Rules"). The appellant received an order dated 19.6.1999 by which the
appellant's representation for expunging the adverse remarks was rejected.
Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant instituted O.A.No. 981 of 1999
before the Tribunal under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985
(for short, "the Act") seeking expunction of adverse remarks.
The main grounds urged by the appellant in support of the relief sought by
him are that all those remarks are the result of personal bias against him as
well as the incompetence, lack of objectivity and frustration on the part of
the second respondent (C.
Dinakar) who at the relevant point of time was working as Director General
of Police, COD. In addition to the above grounds, the appellant also attacked
the impugned order on several other grounds stating that the mandatory
requirements of Rules 5 & 6 of the Rules have been violated and that the
second respondent has recorded against the appellant the adverse remarks in a
mala fide exercise of the statutory power under Rule 6 of the Rules and that
the said adverse remarks were made in violation of the aforesaid provisions
which are mandatory in character, are illegal, void and liable to be quashed
and that the order which was made without application of mind is liable to be
quashed and that the impugned order dated 19.6.1999 is otherwise unreasonable,
unjust and opposed to law and facts.
The original application was opposed by the State of Karnataka and other
respondents and before the Tribunal it was contended on behalf of the second
respondent that adverse remarks against the appellant herein were written for
the relevant period when he worked as the Deputy Inspector General of Police,
COD and the Reporting authority for the appellant was one Sri Vijay Sasanur,
who was the then Inspector General of Police, COD and that the second
respondent, who was then working as the Director General of Police, COD was the
Reviewing authority; the allegations made against the second respondent by the
appellant are motivated, totally baseless and false.
The Tribunal opined that the allegations made by the appellant against the
second respondent are abusive, malicious and have caused acute discomfort and
embarrassment to the second respondent personally and that it is appropriate
for the Government of Karnataka to initiate suitable action against the
appellant. Mr. C.
Dinakar, 2nd respondent, appeared in person and submitted his case.
We have perused the impugned Annual Confidential Reports which is for a
brief period of 4 months and 19 days i.e. from 16.10.1996 to 15.3.1997 for
which period the 2nd respondent was the reviewing authority as, in the first
half, inter alia, the appellant was deputed to the Olympic Games at Atlanta,
U.S.A. and in this brief period there was no review. C. Dinakar, the second
respondent who appeared in person contended before the Tribunal that the
impugned Annual Confidential Reports written by the reporting authority and the
reviewing authority are in conformity with the provisions of the Rules and the
instructions issued by the Government of India from time to time and that the
remarks written by the reporting authority cannot be faulted with or condemned
on the ground of mala fide. The only additions made by the Reviewing authority
are the following:
"Arrogant officer, His knowledge and work is good, but he cannot be
objective and impartial in discharging his duties."
According to second respondent, Rule 5(3) envisages recording of remarks for
a part of the year and therefore, the recording of the impugned remarks by the
reporting authority and the Reviewing authority cannot be faulted with. At the
time of hearing, our attention was drawn to the communication dated 18.1.1998
sent by the appellant to the Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka in reply
to the communication dated 9.12.1997 of the Chief Secretary communicating the
adverse remarks. We have gone through the entire reply dated 18.1.1998. Our
attention was also drawn to the proceedings of the Government of Karnataka
(Annexure P-3) which was the order passed by the Government of Karnataka
refusing to expunge the remarks for the reasons mentioned thereunder. The
Government before passing the said order has also examined the request of the
appellant after obtaining comments of the authorities, namely, the reporting
authority and the reviewing authority that have recorded the adverse remarks
and found that there are no grounds to expunge the adverse remarks.
On our request, the comments offered by the reporting authority and the
reviewing authority were also brought to our notice and we have perused the
same. In the circumstances, the Government of Karnataka after obtaining the
comments of the authorities who have recorded the adverse remarks found that
there are no grounds to expunge the adverse remarks and accordingly rejected
the representation made by the appellant to expunge the adverse remarks.
As already noticed, all the adverse remarks were recorded by the reporting
authority, Late Mr. Vijay Sasanur. However, the whole basis of attack of the
impugned adverse remarks alleging the ill-will and mala fide was made by the
appellant only against the second respondent. The grounds taken in the original
application and the grounds mentioned in the representation of the appellant
are all based on the misconceived perception on the part of the appellant that
the second respondent alone is the author of the adverse remarks and the second
respondent is biased against the appellant and, therefore, he deliberately
authored those remarks against the appellant as a vindictive measure.
We have also carefully analysed as to whether any other ground was made to
assail the impugned adverse remarks apart from the remarks made against the
appellant by the second respondent. We have not found any other ground except
the personal attack made against the second respondent.
The appellant has failed to implead the reporting authority as a party to
the proceedings who made the drastic adverse remarks against the appellant at
the time of offering his remarks to the Government. However, the
remarks/comments made by the reporting authority and the reviewing authority
were also placed before us at the time of hearing. Unfortunately, the reporting
authority was not made a party-respondent to the proceedings in question.
As directed by us, the Government of Karnataka placed before us the entire
service records of the appellant from 1978-1979 to 2005-2006. Except the
impugned adverse remarks, all other entries are "excellent",
"very good" and "outstanding". Many officers have rated the
appellant as a smart and well balanced officer and has excellent perception of
I.B's role in national security and has excellent power of communication both
verbal and written and his Conduct and character is "very good" and
has contributed very significantly for the overall intelligence output of the
SIB as also on enhancing its image among young employees.
On 25.7.1990, the Accepting authority, Mr. K.
Saranyan, Additional Director, IB Headquarters, New Delhi, fully endorsed
the Reviewing Officer's assessment that the officer is "outstanding".
For the period 1.4.1990 to 31.3.1991, the appellant was graded as a very
For the period 1.4.1991 to 1.10.1991, the Accepting authority made the
remarks that "he has been ably assisting the DGP and shows keen interest
to receive instructions and do good work".
For the period 1.11.1991 to 31.3.1992, Mr.
Dharam singh made the remarks found him quite a knowledgeable officer, hard
working and when asked, can tender unbiased opinions.
For the period ending 31.3.1993, he has been graded as "very
For the period ending 31.1.1994, he has been graded as
"outstanding". Mr. J.C. Lynn, Chief Secretary, Government of
Karnataka, graded him as "outstanding".
From 16.10.1996 to 15.3.1997, the impugned adverse remarks were "an
arrogant officer, his knowledge of work is good but he cannot be objective and
impartial in discharging his duties."
From 1.4.1997 to 18.4.1997, he has been graded as "very good" by
Mr. S.K. Bhattacharya, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka. However, for
all these years, Mr. V.V. Bhaskar, the Director General of Police has graded
him as an officer of outstanding merit.
From 1.4.1998 to 31.3.1999, he has been graded as "very good".
From 1.4.1999 to 31.3.2000, he has been graded as "excellent" and
under his guidance and supervision his staff was able to detect large number of
smuggling forest produce and trade in wild life.
Mr. V.V. Bhaskar, the Director General of Police graded him as
From 14.7.2000 to 28.2.2001 Mr. C. Dinakar, IPS (Retd.), (2nd respondent),
Director General & Inspector General of Police, Karnataka State, Banglore,
in paragraph 20 made general assessment as follows:
"An arrogant and undisciplined officer against whom the Central
Administrative Tribunal passed strictures and ordered him to pay cost of
Rs.3000/- (which he paid) for using intemperate and unrestrained
The above remarks were not accepted by the Additional Chief Secretary &
Principal Secretary to government, Home & Transport Department and his
assessment is as follows:
"His integrity is beyond doubt. The remarks at S.No.20 relate to period
from 16.10.1996 to 15.3.1997.
My assessment of the officer is that he did very good work and have taken
keen interest in computerization programme of the Department and reviewed other
works assigned to him like crime review and Forensic Science Laboratory. "
From 1.4.2001 to 31.7.2001 Dr. K. Sreenivasan, Director General &
Inspector General of Police, Karnataka State, Bangalore found him as
and Mr. M.B. Prakash, the Additional Chief Secretary &
Principal Secretary to Government Home & Transport Department was also
agreed to the said grading.
For the period ending 31.3.2002, he has been graded as
"outstanding" by Mr. M.D. Singh, the Additional Director General of
Police, Crime and Technical Services, Bangalore.
For the period 1.4.2002 to 30.9.2002, again Mr.
M.D. Singh graded him as "Outstanding". Mr. V.V.
Bhaskar, Director General & Inspector General of Police, Karnataka
State, graded him as "Outstanding" and Mr.
Adhip Chaudhury, Additional Chief Secretary & Principal Secretary to
Govt. graded him as an excellent officer. For the same year, Dr. A. Ravindra,
Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka graded him as an outstanding officer.
For the period ending 31.3.2003, due to special efforts put in by him, the
46th All India Police Duty Meet 2002 held at Bangalore was conducted in an
excellent manner. He played a major part in the publication of crime related
data with caption "Crime in Karnataka" for the years 2000 and 2001.
Mr. T. Mudiyal, Director General and Inspector General of Police, Karnataka
State, Bangalore graded him "outstanding".
For the period pending 31.3.2004, Mr. T. Mudiyal recorded him as follows:
"A very knowledgeable and disciplined officer.
He applied his mind to all the details and executes the work to near
perfection. He is a willing worker and his skills of communication are
excellent. In the field of computerization in the Department he has done
extremely good work. He can anticipate and prepare himself to various situations
Grading : Outstanding."
For the period ending 31.3.2005, Mr. K.K. Misra, Chief Secretary, Government
of Karnataka, Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore made the remarks as follows:
"General Assessment: An officer with a most pleasing personality. Endowed
with a sharp and inquiring mind, he has tremendous conceptual ability as he has
been proved by the quantum leap achieved in Karnataka Police Computerization
during his stewardship. He has absolute clarity in both oral and written
communication. His proven analytical and planning abilities are evident in the
excellence seen in his work. His leadership qualities and initiative have
always come to the fore particularly in the way he has harnessed the limited
resources at the SCRB and initiated several e-governance projects taking police
computerization to great heights. Attention to details is one of his virtues.
With his trademark hard work & Industry he has earned an unimpeachable
reputation as a conscientious officer with a sound judgment and a flair for
taking correct and lightening quick decisions. His speed of disposal is
remarkable. He is ever willing to accept responsibility readily with a smile.
His relations with subordinates, colleagues and general public are very
cordial. He has evinced an extraordinary interest in the development of
subordinates and used training as a tool for the purpose, having implemented
computer based training at the PS level. His tribes and weaker sections of
society is not only unquestionable but is tinged with compassion. A brilliant
officer with innovative ideas. Truly an asset to the IPS."
In column 5, the remarks made are as under:
"He has very rich experience in use of computer in Police
In column 6, "For the reasons brought out above, the officer richly
deserves outstanding grading."
For the period ending 31.3.2006, Mr. B.S. Sial, Director General &
Inspector General of Police, Karnataka State, Bangalore assessed him as
"He is well versed in his area of responsibility and has been acquitting
himself excellently in those fields. He is industrious, intelligent and has
clarity of mind with very good communication skills. He is an officer with
initiative, judgement and promptitude and takes decisions. He is always willing
to accept challenging responsibilities. He has cordial relations with
subordinates and superiors and good public relations. His attitude towards
scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and weaker sections is cordial,
understanding, compassionate and empathetic.
Integrity : beyond doubt 4. Grading :
From the above remarks made by the different authorities at different points
of time, it will be evident that the appellant is an officer of outstanding
qualities and merit. Except for the impugned remarks made by the reporting
officer and by the second respondent as the reviewing authority, he has been
consistently graded as "outstanding", "very good" and
"excellent" and has also been entrusted with various
responsibilities. It is true that in his representation he has used intemperate
language, mainly against respondent No.2, on an erroneous assumption that the
adverse remarks had been made by the said respondent, but use of such
intemperate language has to be looked at objectively after careful
consideration of all the Annual Confidential Reports for all the years which
are also before us. It will have to be considered whether the remarks made by
the reporting officer and the reviewing officer were sufficient in themselves
to merit the overall assessment of "average" as against the
consistently excellent remarks in the confidential reports both before and
after the period in question. In fact, the remarks of the Additional Chief
Secretary and Principal Secretary to the Government, Home and Transport
Department, while disagreeing with the general assessment made by the second
respondent of the appellant's performance from 14.7.2000 to 28.2.2001, also
The confidential report is an important document as it provides the basic
and vital inputs for assessing the performance of an officer and further
achievements in his career. This Court has held that the performance appraisal
through C.Rs. should be used as a tool for human resource development and is
not to be used as a fault finding process but a developmental one. Except for
the impugned adverse remarks for a short period of about 150 days, the
performance of the appellant has been consistently of high quality with various
achievements and prestigious postings and meritorious awards from the President
of India. We have already seen that the appellant has been graded as "very
good", "excellent" and "outstanding" throughout his
career. It is difficult to appreciate as to how it could become adverse during
the period of 150 days for which the adverse remarks were made. Furthermore,
despite such adverse remarks, the Government of Karnataka, considering his
merit and ability and outstanding qualities, has already promoted the appellant
as the Inspector General of Police.
Although, the remarks made by the reporting officer has been questioned by
the appellant as if they had been made by the respondent No.2, the Court still
has to make an assessment as to whether the said remarks were merited by the
appellant on account of his consistently good performance. Even his outburst
against the respondent No.2 in his representation appears to be a fall out of
such presumption which was certainly not expected of an officer of the rank and
caliber of the appellant. But, in our view, the same should not come in the way
of an otherwise unblemished and outstanding career.
In our view, the High Court was prejudiced by the intemperate outburst of
the appellant in his representation, which led to the dismissal of the writ
petition. On account of such prejudice, the High Court chose to ignore the
consistently good record of the appellant and based its judgment on the basis
of the language used by the appellant in his representation.
Furthermore, the High Court also failed to appreciate that remarks such as
"anything but smiling", "cannot vibe with his seniors" and
"his decision making was governed by his paradigm" are not remarks
which are adverse or could have been used to justify the average rating in the
In order to satisfy ourselves we had called for the entire service record of
the appellant and upon perusal of the same, we find that the remarks of the
reporting officer for the period in question were contrary to his consistent
performance. The observation of the respondent No.2 that the appellant was an arrogant
officer is followed by his remark that his knowledge and work is good. Such an
observation, in our judgment, cannot be the basis of an overall rating of
The Tribunal also appears to have been prejudiced by the intemperate
language used by the appellant against the second respondent. The Tribunal
while holding that such language was totally unacceptable also imposed cost of
Rs.3,000/- on the appellant to be paid to the second respondent. It is not in
dispute that the said cost has been paid by the appellant to the second
respondent. However, for the same reasons as those indicated above, we are of
the view that the Tribunal also committed an error in overlooking the otherwise
consistently good track record of the appellant.
For the reasons aforesaid, we allow the civil appeal and set aside the order
passed by the Tribunal and the High Court in Writ Petition No.3310/2005. The
authorities are directed not to treat the appellant's performance during the
period in question as average.
The appellant should also desist from using intemperate and abusive language
in future while discharging his official functions.
There will be no order as to costs.