Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi struck down on Thursday an order by chief minister V Narayanasamy that banned the use of social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Twitter for official communication.
Narayanasamy had circulated the ban order after being informed that Bedi was directly interacting with government officials on WhatsApp, according to a source.
The movie came after home minister and Congress state chief A Namassivayam questioned Bedi’s decision to suspend a PCS officer for allegedly posting an objectionable video in a WhatsApp group. AS Sivakumar, serving as the registrar of cooperative societies (RCS), was suspended after the video was discovered last week.
On Thursday, Bedi’s order declared the social media ban circular as “null and void”, adding that such an order was in contravention of guidelines, rules and policies.
Bedi announced the decision on Twitter. “If Puducherry has to be a progressive UT, it cannot be retrograde in communications. Hence @CM_Puducherry’s order stands cancelled:@PMOIndia (sic),” she posted.
The government’s December 2 notification had directed all the government employees in Puducherry to desist from using social media for official work, saying that the servers of these multinational companies were based outside the country and that any foreign country could access the official communication.
A source said the chief minister issued the order as he was unhappy that the Lt Governor was summoning officials through social media, bypassing the established protocols and hierarchy.
The chief minister learnt about the suspension of the official — carried out without the knowledge of the elected government — when the bureaucrats sought his help. He then issued the blanket order that banned all social media communications.