Are Government Officials Permitted To Speak With The Media?: Allahabad High Court Asks State Government






Case Title: Adarsh Kumar vs State of UP

A single bench of Justice JJ Munir of the Allahabad High Court observed that among government officials, including those at the Central level, regarding their informal and unrestricted interactions with the media.

The bench requested the State to clarify whether such conduct is prohibited by the service regulations. Furthermore, the court instructed the Additional Chief Secretary of the Department of Personnel to outline the measures taken to educate the upcoming generation of public servants on refraining from impromptu media engagements, should such prohibitions be in place according to the regulations.

The Court deliberated on a petition filed by a government employee contesting departmental proceedings initiated against him. Without delving into the specifics of the petitioner’s statements to the media, the Court highlighted a discernible pattern observed among government officials.

The bench said “This Court notices that there is a general trend amongst government servants of the present day of all ranks, including those in the Central Services serving the State cadre, of casually and freely speaking to the media. The District Collectors and the District Superintendent of Police are freely seen speaking and interacting with media. Likewise, is the case with government servants employed in connection with the affairs of the State and those serving further down in the hierarchy,” 

The emphasized that without modifications to the previously established conduct regulations, government officials would not possess the liberty to engage independently with the media. One rationale behind the prohibition of government officials from unrestricted media interactions was to prevent conflicting stances on a given matter, as highlighted by the Court.

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