J-K govt employees to be punished for comments ‘critical’ of policy

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration issued a strict set of guidelines regarding use of social media by the government employees and reiterated that any verbal or written “criticism” against the government can lead to a termination.

According to an order, reviewed by The Kashmir Walla, the J-K administration maintained that “no government employee shall, by any utterance, writing or otherwise discuss or criticize in public or in any meeting of any association or body any policy pursued or action taken by the Government nor shall he in any manner participate in any such discussion or criticism.”

Via the order, the administration further warned the employees that they should not “make any statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the Government of India, Government of Jammu and Kashmir” to any radio broadcast or press.

The administration noted that despite being these guidelines in place, the employees have been found floating them. “While using different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. or Instant Messaging applications like WhatsApp, Telegram etc., employees have been seen to air disparaging views on subjects that they are expressly barred under rules to comment upon,” the order reads.

The government in the order mentioned that it has been observed that government servants often engage themselves with social media in a manner which is in contravention to the prescribed rules.

It further said that no government employee shall post grievances pertaining to their workplace on social media in the form of videos, posts, tweets or blogs or in any other form but will follow the already established channels of complaint redressal existing in the departments.

“Such actions range from unauthorised communication of official information and/or dissemination of patently wrong or misleading information, airing of political or communal views etc. under their real or assumed identities,” it added.

“No government employee shall post, tweet or share content that is political or anti-secular and communal in nature or subscribe to pages, communities or twitter handles and blogs of such nature,” the guidelines reads.

The government said that violation of these guidelines shall tantamount to misconduct and invite disciplinary action against the delinquent official under the relevant rules.

The penalties include fine not exceeding one month’s pay, withholding of increments or promotion, reduction to a lower post or a lower time-scale or to a lower stage in time-scale, recovery from pay of the whole or part of any pecuniary loss caused to government by negligence or breach of orders, premature retirement on proportionate pension other than that specified in rule 226 (2) of Jammu and Kashmir Civil Service Regulations, removal from the service of the state which does not disqualify from future employment and dismissal from the service of the state which ordinarily disqualifies from future employment.

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