Using Facebook, Twitter or other social media, including even the messaging application WhatsApp, during working hours can now land judicial officers and other staff and lower courts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in trouble.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has asked all the district court judges and employees not to use the internet on their phones during court hours for surfing social networking sites. “In case any judicial officer or court official is found using internet on mobile phone for surfing social websites like Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during court hours, for the purpose other than mentioned herein before, strict disciplinary action will be taken against him/her,” reads the speed post letter sent to all district and sessions judges of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The letter states that social sites could be used only for “official purposes” or in “emergency”. All the judges have also been told to acknowledge the receipt of the letter sent by the registrar general of the high court.
Sources said there was no particular instance where officials or judges were found using social networking sites, but this letter was followed by a similar circular issued to the high court staff last month. That circular too had come in the wake of an exercise initiated by some other high courts to increase “productivity”, an official not authorised to speak to the media told HT. In May 2016, the Delhi high court had also issued similar instructions to its employees.