Concerned at ‘sensitive information’ being leaked to the media, the home ministry has issued a gag order for its officials and told them not to maintain unauthorised contact with the media.
The home ministry order was circulated on August 27, around the same time home minister Rajnath Singh was standing in front of TV cameras to dismiss rumours of alleged wrong-doings by his son.
In its office memo sent out the same day, home ministry director Shyamala Mohan said: “It has come to the notice that sensitive information in possession of the government is frequently appearing in the print and electronic media.”
Officials in several other departments too have been advised on similar lines but this is the first time in recent months that a written order has been issued.
Citing rules and the manual of office procedure, the memo complained that breaches of these instructions and rules “have been noticed more often than not” and asked officers to strictly comply with the instructions.
A home ministry official said the two developments – the controversy around Rajnath Singh’s family and the gag order – were not linked and a mere coincidence.
The rules – that bar officials other than the home secretary from interacting with the media – have been used by departments to draw an iron curtain over government functioning.