New Delhi: An officer not below the rank of an Under Secretary will henceforth carry ‘secret' documents which will be handled only by specially-designated ‘secret' and ‘top secret' sections in every department.
In the wake of arrests of some government employees for allegedly leaking official documents to big corporate houses for a consideration, the government has issued a fresh set of instructions also placing restrictions on officials in communicating with the media.
Only ministers, secretaries and other pecially-authorised officers can now give information or be accessible to the representatives of the press.
An officer not below the level of Under Secretary only can carry secret documents under special circumstances with the prior permission of a Joint Secretary-level officer for attending meeting or discussions outside offices, the instructions issued by the Personnel Ministry said.
Section officers or above will only carry with them confidential papers with prior permission. “The authorisation will be produced by the officer on demand,” the document said.
On communication with the media, the ministry said, “Official information to the press and other news media i.e. radio, television, shall normally be communicated through the Press Information Bureau (PIB).”
Any other official, if approached by a representative of the press, will direct them to the PIB or shall seek the permission of the Secretary of the department before meeting the press, the guidelines said.
The Personnel Ministry has cited Departmental Security Instructions issued by Home Ministry which says classified papers are expected to be handled either by officers themselves or in sections designated as ‘secret' or ‘top secret'.