Government Freezes Order Curbing Employees’ Creative Expressions

It appears, after coming under severe criticism and all-round condemnation, government has had second thoughts on its decision to curb creative freedom of its employees. Kerala government has frozen its order requiring employees to get prior permission before indulging in creative pursuits and literary and artistic activities.

The Chief Minister has asked the Chief Secretary to submit a report on the matter after the order invited criticism. A final decision on the matter will be taken after the report.

Employee unions, organisations and eminent individuals have all questioned the government on such restrictions on artistic endeavours and have condemned it as absurd and an assault on freedom of speech.

The government had made amendments in the service rules as per which government employees had to seek the permission of superior officer before taking part in shows conducted by private radio and television. Permission was to be granted for acting in films, tele-serials and professional dramas only after thorough reading of application.

The amendment was brought when employees including IAS officers started criticising the government and became active on social networking sites.

The GO issued on November 11 by the Kerala Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department had also put strict restrictions on books published by employees. The employee before publishing their creative works, research thesis, study guides or articles, was required to submit basic details to the government about the publishers and the persons who present the books. An affidavit was to be provided that fair price and no profit is gained from the book. Along with that, an application had to be submitted declaring that the book contains nothing against the interest of the country as well as the policies of government.