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Odisha Government Orders Curbs On Social Media Use By Employees

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Tuesday clamped restrictions on public servants from expressing their views in the form of writing articles or releasing statements in print, electronic and social media.

Principal Secretary, Sanjeev Chopra, in a letter to additional chief secretaries, commissioner-cum-secretaries and special secretaries, has ordered enforcement of Government Servants’ Code of Conduct with reference to the use of social media.

The move comes in the wake of instances where government servants, especially contractual employees, are using social media to ventilate their service-related grievances to the authorities.

“This is an act of indiscipline, besides being indecorous and violative of Government Servants’ Code Of Conduct,” General Administration and Public Grievance Department’s letter read.

Chopra in his letter highlighted that Rule 7 of the Odisha Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 1959 prohibits government servants from making any communication in the public, press or media regarding policy or action of the State.

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Further, Rule 23 stipulates that “No government servant shall bring or attempt to bring any influence whether official or non-official to bear upon any authority to further his interest in respect of matters pertaining to his appointment under government, promotion, pay and other service conditions. Thus, it is implicit that the government servants are bound to ventilate service-related grievances only through the Controlling authority or the Appointing department/ authority.”

The advisory further clarified that using social media for the service related grievances and making reference to higher authorities contravenes official conduct and is construed as deliberate misconduct, which entails major penalty proceedings under the provisions of the Orissa Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1962.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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