Raising concerns about statements made by retired police officers on television which criticise the administration, legislative council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh has asked the state government to consider establishing a code of speech that will prevent retired police and government officers from leaking sensitive information or making negative comments about the government in public.
The issue was raised by Peasants Workers Party (PWP) legislator Jayant Patil at the legislative council on Friday. Patil said that former police officers such as YP Singh had criticised the government on television. “Since they [officers] hold important posts, they must abide by the rules of the service and maintain confidentiality on important issues. Singh was seen commenting on decisions taken by former home minister Jayant Patil (who is now the rural development minister),” Patil said.
Opposition leader Pandurang Phundkar suggested that a three-four member committee should be formed to address the issue. Deshmukh asked rural development minister Jayant Patil to discuss the issue with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and home minister RR Patil and consider forming appropriate rules.
Signifying his support for the proposed code rules, Shiv Sena legislator Diwakar Raote said, “Some issues need to be kept locked behind close doors in the interests of the state and nation. These must not be disclosed even after one has retired from service. Rules must be formed to prevent this,” Raote said.
BJP national president Nitin Gadkari contended that while every person is entitled to freedom of speech in a democracy one needs to exercise caution over what he/she is saying. “If a person has occupied an important post, then he/she is bound be in possession of confidential information. They should exercise self-restraint,” Gadkari said.
Congress legislator Sayyed Jama said the government should take to court former officers found to be making damaging comments in public.