Bureaucrats cannot act in films

Special Correspondent
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High Court verdict a blow to public servants bitten by the celluloid bug

Bureaucrats can no longer act in films given the judgment of the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissing a writ petition filed by an officer of the Indian Administrative Service who had challenged an order of the State Government barring officials from acting in films.

Justice Anand Byrareddy dismissed the petition filed by K. Shivaram, who has acted in several Kannada films. He had challenged an order issued by the S.M. Krishna Government in 2004.

What the rule says

According to the rules, no government servant should engage directly or indirectly in any trade or business without appropriate sanction.

Mr. Shivaram has acted in six Kannada films: Baanalle Madhuchnadrakhe, Vasantha Kaavya, Prathibatane, Yaarige Bede Dudu, Khala Nayaka, and Game.


The State Government's ban restricted him in acting in his seventh film, and he was unable to complete the movie. He had claimed that the ban order affected his constitutional right.

The verdict has come as a blow to public servants nurturing dreams of being a part of the film business.

Apart from Mr. Shivaram, many other bureaucrats have nurtured interest in films.

Senior IAS officer I.M. Vittala Murthy served as an honorary consulting producer for Kanuru Heggadati and Matadana, which were based on classic novels.

The High Court held that “the films the petitioner was acting in were being produced as business ventures of the producers. He could not directly or indirectly involve [himself] in such business ventures, even if it is to be accepted that he derived no monetary benefit from the venture. The very fact of acting in the film when alternatively employed is impermissible. The involvement is complete and total and it is what actors are paid for.”

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