IIT Kharagpur has asked its faculty members not to participate in radio broadcast or write on subjects critical of the state and central governments.
However, they can write on literary or scientific topics, the premier institute said in a recent circular.
Registrar B N Singh told PTI on Sunday, it was not a fresh notice and the authorities have been quoting excerpts from an old central government circular from time to time for the new recruits who "may not have an idea about certain service conduct rules for central government employees." "It is not a gag order," he said.
The IIT Kharagpur notification, signed by the registrar on June 5, read "It has been observed that many a times institute employees are offering their views/publishing information etc in the print/social media. It is true that media is a part of our daily lives.... However, a few cases are reported in the media which have the effect of adverse criticism of the policies or action of the institute and the Central govt/any state govt/ any other institute or organisation or members of the public."
The notification, quoting the conduct rules framed many years back, specified that no employee shall in any radio broadcast or in any document published anonymously or in any communication to the press in his own name make statement "which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current policy or action of the institute or which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the institute and the Central government."
It said that the staff of IIT Kharagpur is governed by conduct rules as laid down in the acts and statutes of the institute.
"No employee shall, except with the previous sanction of the competent authority or any other authority empowered by it in this behalf, or in the bonafide discharge of his duties, participate in a radio broadcast or contribute any article or write any letter, in his own name or anonymously, to any newspaper or periodical..," the notification said.
"No such sanction shall be required if such broadcast or contribution is "of a purely literary, artistic or scientific character", the notification said.
However, "members of the staff are at liberty, without any sanction, to publish their original scientific works in journals of repute in India and abroad...Such articles must be strictly confined to purely scientific subjects and should not touch administrative matters. They shall be free from all political tinge...," the circular said.
Claiming that no recent development has prompted the institute to come up with the circular, Singh said, "It has been issued to apprise the new recruits about the service rules."
An IIT Kharagpur source said, a circular like this is issued from time to time.
"However, with the proliferation of social media in recent years, it is important to make those having joined later to know about their responsibilities.
"If they refer to their association with the organisation in their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, their comments and posts may be considered to be part of their official identity by followers on net, including media.
"There is no monitoring as such but the authorities expect them to use their own discretion while posting in social media," he said.