New Delhi, (Agencies): The making of Annual Confidential Report  to appraise the performance of an official by a colleague of same rank is unfair and cannot be considered
for promotion unless reviewed and approved by a higher authority, the Central Administrative Tribunal has ruled.

Terming as "unfair" the ACR prepared by an official of the same rank, the CAT's bench of Justice Dharam Paul Sharma and non-judicial member L K Joshi said it also violated the
principal of natural justice.
    
"The performance report is generally prepared by the reporting officers of the same rank. Such procedure is obviously pernicious and pregnant with prejudices and manipulative violating the principles of natural justice and highly unfair," the bench said, quoting from a 1996 Supreme Court ruling on service jurisprudence.
    
"The confidential report should be written by superior officer of higher rank. There should be another higher officer in rank above the officer who has written the confidential report to review such report. The appointing authority or any equivalent officer would be competent to approve the confidential reports or character rolls," the bench held.
    
"This procedure would be fair and reasonable. The reports thus written would form basis for consideration for promotion. The procedure presently adopted is clearly illegal, unfair and unjust," the bench added.
   
 The tribunal's order came on an appeal by Income Tax Commissioner Swati S Patil, an Indian Revenue Service officer of 1974 batch.She had sought the CAT's direction to the Revenue Department not to consider her ACR for 2003-04 for promotion in which she had been given 'good' grading which is below the prescribed benchmark of 'very good' for promotion.