By NewsGram Staff Writer
A few days after Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal accused media for “conspiring against Aam Aadmi Party”, Delhi government has asked officials to report matters of criminal defamation.
The notification, issued by the Directorate of Information and Publicity, was not just for the government officials but also includes Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal.
The circular refers to sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. The section states that if any officer of the Delhi government feels that a published or an aired item has damaged his or the government’s reputation, he should file a complaint in this regard with the Principal Secretary (home).
According to the circular, after getting an approval from the director (prosecution), the matter should be referred to the law department and after the government’s consent, a case should be filed
“If by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, any person makes or publishes any defamatory imputation against the Chief Minister/Ministers of the government of NCT of Delhi or any public servant, employed in connection with the affairs of government of NCT of Delhi, in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions and if the person aggrieved believes that such imputation has harmed his/her reputation, he/she will report the matter in writing to the Principal Secretary (Home) , Government of NCT Delhi,” the circular reads.
Sajjan Singh Yadav, the director of Information Department, told The Indian Express, “This is nothing new. We have not enacted any new law. We have just informed government functionaries about the available remedies in defamation cases under the existing law of the land.”
Another senior official told to the newspaper, “It is an explanatory circular for the understanding of all government employees from the Chief Minister to a peon. Other states have also issued such circulars. The need for such a circular was felt for a long time and has nothing to do with any alleged attacks on the media by the Aam Aadmi Party.”
He added, “A number of government employees, especially from the MCDs, faced harassment from small-time newspapers and channels that were threatening and blackmailing them under the pretext of reporting. The circular has been issued only to explain to them that if there are any personal attacks or irresponsible reporting against them while discharging their duty, then such legal action can be initiated”.