Madurai bench of Madras High Court has issued directions to the Tamil Nadu government to frame regulations to curb the unnecessary use of mobile phones by government employees for personal use during office hours.
Justice S M Subramaniam noted that the frequent use of mobile phones by public servants in office would cause disturbance and disrupt the functioning of the public offices.
The bench stated that using phones by the government employees in office has become a common practice. Justice Subramaniam added that using phone and recording videos inside the office is a grave misconduct.
“Officials working in the government departments should never be allowed to use mobile phones inside the office for their personal use. If at all any emergency call is to be attended, proper permission must be obtained from superiors to go out from the office to use mobile phones,” the bench said.
The court added, “Appropriate circular / instruction should be given to all the government offices to ensure that the mobile phones are either kept in a common cloakroom at the time of entering the office. For emergency calls, the official numbers kept in the office should be utilised.”
Justice Subramaniam went on to add, “In all circumstances, the mobile phones must be either switched off or kept on vibration / silent mode, without causing any disturbance or nuisance to the public, who all are attending the office as well as the other officials working in the office. This should be the minimum discipline to be followed in the government offices.”
High Court issued directions to frame appropriate guidelines. Strict action will be taken against the violator under Tamil Nadu Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1973.
The court has also asked the TN government to submit a detailed report within four weeks.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by D S Radhika, who worked as a superintendent in the regional workshop (health) in Trichy district. She had challenged her suspension order.
The petitioner was found recording videos of staff and other employees in the office. When authorities took her phone away, she allegedly resorted to violence, used filthy and abusive language, and also tried to attack an official.