Law Department vetting draft of amended rules

The State government plans to amend the Government Servants Conduct Rules by prohibiting employees from either joining or holding posts in religious, casteist, or community organisations.

This is apart from the existing rule restricting government employees from being a member of a political party or taking part in politics.

The fresh amendment has been brought in a bid to check employees’ covert or overt involvement in extremist or subversive activities following intelligence reports that some such organisations have infiltrated employees’ organisations.

Frontal organisations

Official sources said many employees were members of “suspected” charitable trust and societies. It was found that extremist outfits had either floated frontal organisations as charitable trusts or they themselves had registered it as a charitable trust.

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan told The Hindu on Tuesday that members of extremist outfits could have infiltrated employees’ organisations. The police department was determined to identify such elements.

“Employees banned from joining any political parties is purely technical,” he said.

The new amendment will not just check employees’ participation in extremist religious activities but also make them more accountable to their work.

The fresh code of conduct is also aimed at keeping tabs on government employees who have been playing truant. Some of them, including medical practitioners, have taken long leave and reportedly aligned with organisations known for their radical activities or ultra Left leanings.

Many complaints

Complaints have cropped up against senior bureaucrats, including police officials, who are engaged in religious or community organisations of showing favouritism towards their subordinates on religious and casteist grounds. A few of them are facing charges of misusing powers vested in them by indulging in nepotism, the sources said.

The draft of the amended rules is now being vetted by the Law Department after it was endorsed by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms.

Formulated in 1960

As of now, the Government Servants Conduct Rules, which came into force in 1960, ban employees from taking part in politics or election to the legislatures. The employees should not participate in non-official conferences or meetings other than those on scientific, literary, or artistic matters.

Service organisations of government employees have been recognised by the government based on certain norms regarding participation of employees and their numerical strength vis-à-vis the total number of employees in that category. Only service associations having recognition have been permitted to take up issues of employees. No mass petitions are allowed.

However, officials said the existing rules did not specify anything about employees holding official positions in caste-religious-community organisations. But the time had come to review situations wherein employees were instigated to join associations posing a threat to the public or the sovereignty of the country.