The tussle between Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi and chief minister V Narayanasamy+
is becoming bitter day by day. Bedi on Thursday cancelled a circular
issued under the instructions of Narayanasamy directing government servants to desist from using social media
for official work.
In an order, Bedi said the “circular dated January 2 of the department of personnel and administrative reforms (personnel wing) has been issued in contravention of guidelines, rules and policies in force and is hereby declared null and void with immediate effect.”
She also posted a copy of the order in her official Twitter account stating, “If Puducherry has to be a progressive UT, it cannot be retrograde in communications. Hence @CM_Puducherry’s order stands cancelled:@PMOIndia,” taking everyone by surprise.
In a circular on January 2, undersecretary (personnel and administrative reforms) M Kannan said the chief minister had directed that all government officers should desist from use of social media for official works. “No group shall be formed for official communication and they should not be members of any official group run in such social media nor interact with seniors bypassing the administrative hierarchy and routine official channel,” the circular said.
The circular further said: “Strict compliance should be ensured by all concerned and violation, if any, of these instructions brought to notice shall invite disciplinary action and further penal action as per rules in force.” However, if it is essential and unavoidable, written permission should be taken from chief secretary for using social media for official work, it said.
The circular banning officials using social media came immediately after Bedi suspended a Puducherry civil services (PCS) officer A S Sivakumar+ , registrar of cooperative societies for posting an obscene video in an official WhatsApp group. Bedi strongly advocated the use of social media for official work and formed several WhatsApp groups to review the progress of various schemes.
Bedi justified her decision to cancel the circular issued by the chief minister. In a video posted in her Twitter account, she said: “It is the policy of the Union government to use social media for government official purposes. He (chief minister V Narayanasamy) disbanded it (WhatsApp groups) and everyone left. He issued a written circular banning use of the social media. He does not know that he does not have the powers to do so. How can a Union territory administered and supported by Union government and I as an administrator issue such as an order?”
“It is contrary to Union government’s policies. Our Prime Minister says communicate, collaborate, coordinate, share, implement and redress grievances,” she said.
Meanwhile, Election Commission of India secretary Malay Mallick has directed the Puducherry chief secretary to stay the suspension of Sivakumar, who is also electoral registration officer (ERO), as his services are required for final publication of electoral rolls revised under his charge.
“The suspension of Sivakumar has created a vacuum as regards the post of electoral registration officer, who is currently associated with the crucial and time bound ongoing electoral roll revision process…The commission may be apprised of the allegations against Sivakumar to enable it to consider whether he may be allowed continue as ERO or not,” said Mallick seeking a compliance report latest by January 5.