May 11, 2022

Madras High Court Orders TN Government To Regulate Civil Servants Use Of Mobile Phones For Personal Purposes During Office Hours | Chennai News

MADURAI: The Madras High Court on Monday ordered the Tamil Nadu government to draw up appropriate regulations to limit the use of cell phones and mobile cameras by civil servants for personal purposes during office hours. The court observed that the frequent use of mobile phones by public servants on duty would cause disruption and disrupt the functioning of public offices.
Justice SM Subramaniam observed that the use of mobile phones by civil servants during office hours has now become a normal scenario. Using cell phones or taking videos inside the office is serious misconduct.
Civil servants working in government departments should never be allowed to use mobile phones inside the office for personal use. If an emergency call needs to be attended to, proper permission must be obtained from superiors to leave the office and use cell phones.
Appropriate circular/instruction should be given to all government offices to ensure that mobile phones are either kept in a common locker room when entering the office. For emergency calls, the official numbers kept in the office should be used, the judge observed.
In all circumstances, mobile phones should be either switched off or kept on vibration/silent mode, without causing any inconvenience or nuisance to the public, all present in the office as well as to other agents working in the office. This should be the minimum discipline to be followed in government offices, the judge observed.
The judge ordered the state government to issue appropriate circulars/instructions to all state officials regarding the regulation of the use of cell phones and cell phone cameras on office premises during office hours. In case of violation of the guidelines/instructions which must be given, strict actions must be taken under the Rules of Conduct for Public Officials of Tamil Nadu, 1973.
The court adopted the guidelines while rejecting a plea submitted by DS Radhika, working as a superintendent at the regional (health) workshop in Trichy district, challenging his suspension order. The petitioner was allegedly found filming staff and other employees working in the office. When the petitioner’s phone was confiscated by the authorities, she resorted to violence, used abusive and foul language and attempted to assault a public official.


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