Delhi High Court’s Ruling on APARs and Government Guidelines for Promotions   

Case Title: Nirmal Kumar Chawdhary v. Union of India 

Date of Decision: September 25, 2023 

Case Number: W.P.(C) 6885/2021 

Coram: Hon’ble Mr. Justice V. Kameswar Rao and Hon’ble MR. Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta  




The case involves a petitioner, Nirmal Kumar Chawdhary, challenging an order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Original Application (O.A.) No. 4437 of 2017. The petitioner sought promotion to the post of Grade IV in Pay Band 4, arguing that he was unjustly denied promotion by the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) due to a below benchmark Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR). 


Factual Background 


The petitioner, Nirmal Kumar Chawdhary, filed an O.A. in the CAT seeking promotion to the Grade IV position with a particular pay scale. The DPC had recommended the names of 39 officers for promotion, but Chawdhary was not among them due to below benchmark APAR ratings for the preceding five years. Specifically, his APAR for the second half of 2013-2014 was rated as “Good,” which did not meet the “Very Good” or above benchmark required for promotion. Chawdhary contended that he was not informed of this adverse grading in the APAR, making it impermissible for the DPC to rely on it for the promotion decision. 


Legal Issues 


  1. Whether the petitioner’s promotion deferral due to the below-benchmark grading in one of his APARs was justified?
  2. Whether the non-communication of the below-benchmark grading in the APAR of the petitioner’s second half of 2013-2014 was valid?




The petitioner argued that the DPC wrongly considered an un-communicated below benchmark APAR in making its promotion decision, which was contrary to established legal principles. He also contended that the delay in communicating the below benchmark grading rendered it invalid, citing government instructions. The petitioner relied on the Supreme Court and High Court judgments to support his position.  


On the other hand, the respondent argued that the DPC was justified in not promoting the petitioner based on the below benchmark APAR. They asserted that the rejection of the petitioner’s representation did not affect the validity of the APAR and that, in accordance with government instructions, the grading must be communicated before promotion considerations. 


Observation and Analysis 


The High Court noted that the rejection of the petitioner’s representation against the below benchmark APAR grading was communicated after the dismissal of the O.A. by the CAT. While considering this rejection, the Court analyzed various judgments, including those from the Supreme Court and the CAT, regarding the validity of APARs in the context of promotions. 


The Court emphasized the importance of communication of grading and the need for reasoned rejection of representations. It also referred to government guidelines specifying the treatment of APARs when certain reports were missing or unavailable. 


The Court referred to guidelines in Chapter 54 of the Manual on Establishment and Administration for Central Government Offices, emphasizing that if one or more CRs or APARs have not been written or are not available for any reason, the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) should consider CRs of the years preceding the period in question or CRs of a lower grade to complete the required number of CRs for assessment. 


Decision and Conclusion 


The High Court set aside the CAT’s order and directed the respondent to re-consider the petitioner’s promotion case. The Court instructed the respondent to follow government guidelines, which stipulated that APARs must be considered for a specified number of years and that the absence of certain reports required alternative considerations. The Court ordered the respondent to calculate the petitioner’s promotion on a notional basis and recalculate retiral benefits accordingly, with no interest on arrears. The respondent was given three months to comply with these directions.  


In conclusion, the High Court found in favor of the petitioner and ordered a re-evaluation of his promotion case based on relevant government guidelines and principles established in previous judgments. 


“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.” 


Written by – Ananya Chaudhary 

Click here to view judgment 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *