The officials working under the Rajasthan government may have to face strict action if they vent out their opposition to any policy or decision on social media. The Vasundhara Raje government has issued a circular warning its officials against criticising its policies.
The circular effectively puts a curb on text or pictorial messages, through social media platforms including WhatsApp, criticising the government.
Issuing the circular, the department of personnel (DOP) in Rajasthan has said that disciplinary action will be taken against employees for tarnishing the government's image through their social media posts.
The government is of the view that many employees spend a lot of time on WhatsApp, Facebook and other public platforms posting comments directed at senior officials or the functioning of the government. It feels that such messages are baseless and aimed at tarnishing image of the senior officials or the government.
The Rajasthan government has referred to the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968 to impose restrictions on the views expressed by its employees on public platforms. The government has warned that violation of the directive will be dealt with strictly.
The latest circular by the Rajasthan government assumes significance in the view of a controversy that erupted last year when an IAS officer in Madhya Pradesh "liked" a Facebook post that criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and praised former PM Jawaharlal Nehru.
The incident had caused a major embarrassment for the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, which responded by transferring the officer - Ajay Gangwar - to secretariat in Bhopal. Earlier, he was the Barwani collector. However, the latest circular by the Rajasthan government is directed against the employees of the state government.
(With inputs from Sharat in Jaipur)