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Monday, May 7, 2012

‘No work talk on networking sites’


Mumbai, May 7,2012(TNN):   The government has asked all Customs and Central Excise Officers not to post online comments on official matters. Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the governing body of these officers, has said any violation will attract action under conduct rules.
“It has been brought to the notice of the board that some officers are posting online comments relating to official matters on social networking sites, such as Facebook, causing confusion and avoidable controversy among officers in different parts of the country,” an April 12 letter signed by joint secretary, administration, Lok Ranjan said.
Officers, however, said this is a gag order. “We do not have access to the files handled by the administration wing. Hence, our discussion is not on specific cases. We are discussing an issue that concerns our promotions. This is an absurd direction,” a senior official said.
The CBEC became worried when officers posted their views on a Supreme Court judgment, including adverse comments on the seniority list relied on by the department for deciding promotions at the commissioner level. “It has been reported that the said post created confusion regarding the SC’s judgment among officers in different parts of the country and also needless controversy over seniority issues….” Ranjan’s letter said.
The SC passed a judgment in August 2011, on the long pending issue of preparing a seniority list of officials while being promoted from superintendents /appraisers to assistant commissioners. The SC had directed the government to follow new guidelines for all those officers who are already Assistant Commissioners. This was suggested to ensure that there was no disparity.
The SC had asked the board to implement the directive by December 31, 2011. But in January this year, the department considered the old seniority list and recommended 62 persons for promotion as Commissioner. This included a few persons who would not have been promoted if the board had obeyed the SC directions. In February 2012, the board moved the SC, saying its directions could be implemented prospectively. The SC rejected the applications and granted three months to implement the August 2011 order. This was discussed extensively on the networking site.
The board also felt that a discussion on Central Excise Duty evasion by a gutkha manufacturer was unwarranted. An officer posted the details, including extracts of the show-cause notice and sought comments from fellow officers.
“Discussing details of investigations on social networking sites and online comments on merits when adjudication or appellate proceedings may be underway is completely unwarranted,” the letter said. Officers said in this case, the board’s decision is justified.

Source: Tkbsen

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