J&K: Government employees’ criticism of administration policies could land them in trouble

The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration seems in no mood to let go of a series of adverse comments, which are being made by the government employees on social media, against the administration’s policies and achievements. Taking the issue seriously, the L-G Manoj Sinha-led administration has now decided to act against such employees indulged in open criticism of the administration’s policies.

The administration has directed the authorities to monitor social media platforms and keep a track on such comments by the government employees. Further, they have been asked to ensure necessary action against those found indulged in such activity.

The Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir has directed all administrative secretaries to monitor the social media networks on a regular basis and identify the employees criticising and commenting adversely on the administration’s policies and achievements on various social media platforms. Additionally, it has been directed that notices will be issued to such employees under intimation to the General Administration Department.

A circular has been issued by the District Magistrate (DM), Ramban in this regard to all the sectoral officers citing the directions from the chief secretary of the Union Territory (UT). The circular has also been forwarded to the Additional District Magistrate and Senior Superintendent of Police, Ramban district. This was directed citing an order to keep a track on social media platforms.

According to the circular, the DM has said, “It was observed that some government employees are openly criticising and commenting adversely on the government policies and achievements on the social media platforms. In wake of this, the Chief Secretary has directed all administrative secretaries to monitor the social media networks on a regular basis and identify such government employees.

The General Administration Department (GAD) has been directed to issue necessary circular in this regard and has been asked to sensitise their subordinate staff in the departments.

Earlier, the J&K administration sparked a debate by asking its new employees to submit details of their social media accounts for police verification last year, following which, questions were being raised widely over the intention.

Not only this, in 2017, the J&K administration amended the J&K Government Employees Conduct Rules-1971 to keep a watch on such government employees, who allegedly indulged in using social media to launch vicious campaigns against the nation and instigated the youth to indulge in violence against J&K.

The order stated, “No government employee shall engage in any criminal, dishonest, immoral or notoriously disgraceful conduct on social media which may be prejudicial to the government. They shall also not use their personal social media accounts for any political activity or endorse the posts or tweets or blogs of any political figure and also shall not use their accounts in a manner that could reasonably be construed to imply that the government endorses or sanctions their personal activities in any matter whatsoever. They shall also not post inflammatory, extraneous message in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on topic discussion.” (Republic)


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