One should not be surprised in the days to come if all government servants remove their social media accounts. They may also excuse themselves from attending any inexpensive social function. Narendra Modi is bent on tightening the so-called loose ends within the civil services. On July 18, the Department of Personnel issued a circular to all Chief Secretaries asking for comments on an amendment in the All India Service (Conduct) Rules 1968 by the second week of August 2016. Now the proposed amendment to Rule 6 states, “Connection with press or radio or television or video or social/public media-previous sanction of the Government shall not be required when the member of the service, in the bonafide discharge of his duties or otherwise, publishes a book or article or contributes to or participates in any public media, including social media websites.” The proposed amendment further adds, “Criticism of Government.-No member of the Service shall, in any radio broadcast or communication over any public media or in any document published anonymously, pseudonymously or in his own name or in the name of any other person or in any communication to the press or in any public utterance, make any statement of fact or opinion, i) which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the Central Government or a State Government; or, ii) which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the Central Government and any State Government; or, iii) Which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the Central Government and the Government of any Foreign State: Provided that nothing in this rule shall apply to any statement made or views expressed by a member of the Service in his official capacity and in the due performance of the duties assigned to him? NOTE: The member of service shall also not make any such statement on television, social media or any other communication application. The word “Document” may also include a caricature. If one reads the amendment carefully, no government servant can express his/her personal opinion on any media as long as he is in the service. The government has every right to amend the rules but what action will be taken against those political masters who keep on vitiating the fabric of the nation?
VOL. 10, ISSUE 5 | AUGUST, 2016