Gag order on govt employees ridiculous, farcical: Harsh

Jammu, 03-01-2018:   Amazed by the nature of restrictions imposed upon the use of social media by govt employees, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman and Former Minister has described the gag order as ridiculous and farcical. He said that the amendments made in the Employees conduct Rules by virtue of the said gag order were laughable having rendered the issuing authority an object of jeers. Pointing towards the text of the new order, Mr. Singh said that the amended Rule 13 provided that “no govt employee shall engage in any criminal, dishonest, immoral and notoriously disgraceful conduct on social media…….” “Was such conduct as specifically described in the new rule above permissible earlier, questioned Harsh? Or does the govt want to convey that govt employees were earlier indulging in criminal, dishonest, immoral and notoriously dishonest conduct” said Harsh. And is a common man immune from such type of criminal, immoral, dishonest conduct as against a govt employee”, enquired Harsh.

Mr. Singh revealed that the new order bars the govt employees from “inflammatory, provocative” posts. The text of the order as published in SRO-525 further restrains the govt from posting” anti social, anti national and illegal” posts on social media and restrains them from making political comments as if these were allowed under the erstwhile Rules.

Questioning the motive behind issuance of such a ludicrous order, Mr. Singh said that criminal, dishonest, illegal and anti national conduct and inflammatory campaign were even otherwise categorized as offences under criminal jurisprudence besides being violative of Employees conduct Rules and other service laws.

Pointing towards the prevalent laws governing the services of govt employees, Mr. Singh said that Civil Services Classification, Control and appeal Rules 1956 clearly defined the code of ethics and restrained the govt employees from indulging in such conduct as referred to in the aforesaid order by making explicit provisions for censure, fine, withholding of increments/promotions, suspensions, recovery from pay pre-mature retirement besides dismissal from services in the event of violations thereof.

Issuance of such order therefore defied logic rendering the issuing authority an object of contemptuous humorous disparagement. As far as the employees participation in politics was concerned, the govt had been issuing such gag orders earlier also without actually intending to take any action thereof. He said that every govt believed that such orders were necessary for “inconvenient” employees to the exclusion of their favourites. There were several instances to show that the parties in power were using bureaucrats and other govt functionaries for promoting their respective political parties besides building the political image of their leaders. He said that rather than issuing new orders, the govt was expected to ensure effective implementation of existing laws on the subject which were sufficient to deal with any kind of indiscipline or misdemeanour on the part of civil servants and other govt functionaries.

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