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'Preventing Loss to Country': Govt Defends Monitoring What Retd Officers Can Write

Jitendra Singh said prior to amendment, it was up to the official to decide whether the published material falls in the prescribed prohibited categories or not.

Jitendra Singh said prior to amendment, it was up to the official to decide whether the published material falls in the prescribed prohibited categories or not.

Many retired officers have expressed concern over the said rules, terming them unreasonable and said it was an effort to muzzle them.

Rules were recently changed for retired officers planning to write on sensitive subjects pertaining to their erstwhile organisations, to prevent “a loss to the country”, the government has told Parliament.

The Centre last month amended the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, prohibiting retired officials of security and intelligence organisations from publishing anything related to “domain of the organisation, including reference or information about any personnel and his designation, and expertise or knowledge gained by virtue of working in that organisation” without prior clearance from the head of the organisation. Pension of the officer could be withheld if he did so.

Minister of State for Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) Jitendra Singh has told Parliament that prior to amendment, it was up to the official to decide whether the published material falls in the prescribed prohibited categories or not and if the officer felt that the material he is going to publish does not fall in prohibited category then he could publish it without any prior approval from the government.

“Later on, in case the government comes to a conclusion that the published material comes or falls under the category of prohibited material, a loss to the country would have already happened. To prevent such situations, the current amendment has been made,” the minister has said, explaining the rationale behind the said decision.

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Many retired officers have expressed concern over the said rules, terming them unreasonable and said it was an effort to muzzle them.

The minister, however, told Parliament that stakeholders, including the Intelligence or Security Organizations, were consulted before amending the rules.

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first published:July 22, 2021, 16:27 IST