The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964
RULE 11. UNAUTHORISED COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION:
Government of India Decisions
(1) Confidential Report – Disclosure of identity of superior officers while communicating adverse remarks
Government have had under consideration the question whether the identity of the officer who recorded adverse remarks in the annual confidential report of a Government servant should be disclosed while communicating the adverse remarks to him. Cases have come to the notice of this Ministry where certain offices are reported to have disclosed the identity of the superior officer who made the adverse remarks while communicating them to the Government servant concerned. It is not necessary to disclose the identity of the Officer concerned since, what the Government servant should be interested in, are the defects/short-comings which his superior officers have found in his work and conduct and not the particular superior officer who recorded them in the confidential report and the representations on the remarks, if any, should be objective pertaining of short-comings noticed. Apart from this, disclosure of the identity of the superior officer is also likely to lead to unpleasantness and personal animosity. It is, therefore desirable that while communicating the adverse remarks to the Government servant concerned, the identity of the superior officer making such remarks should not normally be disclosed.
2. If, however, in a particular case, it is considered necessary to disclose the identity of the superior officer, the authority dealing with the representation may at his discretion allow the identity to be communicated.
3. In so far as persons serving in the Indian audit and Accounts Departments are concerned, these orders are issued after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
[MHA OM No. 51/2/64-Ests.(A), dated 30.03.1964]
(2) Leakage through the Press of classified information – Safeguards against – only officers specially authorised should meet the Press.
Instances have come to the notice of Government of leakage of classified information from time to time and their publication in the Press. It is the duty of all Government servants to safeguard the security of all classified information and papers to which they have access in the course of their official duties. In this connection the relevant provisions, in the Manual or Office Procedure and in the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, are reproduced in the Annexure (not reproduced).
2. It would be observed from paragraph 90 (para 113 in 1996 edition) of the Manual of Office Procedure (reproduced in the Annexure below) that only Ministers, Secretaries and other officers specially authorized by the Minister are permitted to meet representatives of the Press and give information. As a further safeguard, it has been decided that as a general rule, any officer (other than Secretaries) specially authorized by the Minister to give information to the press, who might have occasion to meet representative of the press, should immediately submit a gist of the subject discussed, to the Secretary of the Ministry/Department in which he is working.
3. It is requested that provisions in the Manual of Office Procedure and Conduct Rules, reproduced in the Annexure as well as the decision referred to in the preceding paragraph may be brought to the notice of all concerned.
[MHA OM No. 29/9/67-Ests.(A), dated 04.07.1967]
Extracts from Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure – 1996 Edition
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113. Communication of information to the Press – (1) Official information to the press and other news media, i.e. radio and television will normally be communicated through the Press Information Bureau.
(2) Only Ministers, Secretaries and other officers specially authorized in this behalf may give information or be accessible to the representatives of the press. Any other official, if approached by a representative of the press, will direct him to the Press Information Bureau.
(3) Whenever it is proposed to release official information to the press, or to hold a press conference or press briefing, or to give publicity to an official report, resolution or any other publication, the department concerned will consult the accredited information officer in advance. The accredited information officer will meet the authorized officials from time to time to collect information worthy of publicity.
(4) Detailed procedure in respect of matters mentioned in this para, as laid down by the Ministry of Information and broadcasting, should be followed.
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(3) Communication of Unauthorised Information
It has been noticed that the Government servants and others, including former Government servants have sometimes quoted or copied in their representations, appeals, etc. Government circulars including those marked secret, notes and other information from files, which they are ordinarily not expected to have seen or to have retained. Communication of such documents, etc. and their retention by, unauthorized persons is not only improper but also involves contravention of Rule 11 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules and section 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
Rule 11 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 lays down that a Government servant may not communicate directly to other Government servant or to non-official persons or to press any documents or information which may have come into his possession in the course of his public duties. Retention of such documents or information by a Government servant in his personal custody for use in furtherance of his personal interest, e.g. in making representation to the authorities concerned is not only objectionable but also constitutes an offence under Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923. A person contravening the provisions of the above Act renders himself liable to prosecution. Contravention of the provisions of the Act and of the Conduct Rules can also be dealt with departmentally under the relevant Discipline Rules, and may well justify the imposition of a suitable penalty with reference to the fact and circumstances of each case.
[MHA OM No. 24/54/58-Ests., dated the 12th April, 1954]
(4) Contact with the Press and airing of views on official matters through the Press
Attention of the Ministry of Finance etc. is invited to Rule 11 of the CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964 and Rule 9 of the AIS (Conduct) Rules, 1968 which provide that no Government servant shall, except in accordance with any general or special order of the Government or in the performance in good faith of the duties assigned to him, communicate, directly or indirectly, any official document or any part thereof or information to any Government servant or any other person to whom he is not authorized to communicate such document or information. Similarly paragraphs 110 and 113 of the Manual of Office Procedure lay down the procedure for contacts with the Press.
2. Instances have come to notice that some Government servants have been unathorisedly communicating with the Press either in their own name or in pseudonymous names. Instructions have been issued from time to time restraining all Government servants from communicating with the Press unauthorisedly but it is observed that the provisions of the Conduct Rules are not being followed in letter and spirit. Recently, some cases have come to notice when officers have criticized in the Press the functioning of their own Ministry and there are instances of expression of views which are in direct opposition to the views expressed by the Minister in public resulting in avoidable indiscretion on the part of civil and military officers.
3. The provisions of Rule 11 of the CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1965, and Rule 9 of the AIS (Conduct) Rules, 1968 referred to above and paras 110 and 113 of the Manual of Office Procedure, are once again brought to the notice of all concerned. It is once against reiterated that violation of the provisions of Conduct Rules and other corresponding provisions amounts to a serious misconduct. The concerned cadre controlling authorities are advised to view such misconduct seriously.
[DOPT OM No. 11013/16/98-Estt.(A), dated 10th December,1998]