Updated: October 12, 2021 12:56:20 pm
The Haryana government on Monday lifted a 54-year-old ban that forbid its employees from joining the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Jamaat-e-Islami. Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan issued the instructions via a letter to all department heads lifting the ban that was put in place by his predecessors in 1967.
The office of then chief secretary in 1967 had issued instructions stating that the government has held the activities of organisations such as the RSS and the Jamaat-e-Islami to be of such a nature that participation in them by the government employees would attract disciplinary action under service rules.
Issuing a letter, on the issue of “Implementation of Haryana Civil Services (Government Employees’ Conduct) Rules, 2016” regarding “taking part in politics and elections” and “joining of associations”, Vardhan on Monday stated that “the earlier issued letters in 1967, 1970 and 1980 are hereby withdrawn with immediate effect as they are no longer relevant”.
The letter — issued to administrative secretaries, heads of departments, managing directors and chief administrators of all boards corporations; divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners, registrars of universities and The Registrar (General), Punjab and Haryana High Court — however, added that “no government employee shall join or continue to be a member of an association, the objects or activities of which are prejudicial to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order or morality”.
It was on January 11, 1967 when the office of then chief secretary issued a letter to all heads of the departments on the subject of “Association of Government employees with the activities of R.S.S.S./Jamaat-e-Islami”.
It read: “I am directed to invite attention to Sub Rule (1) or Rule (5) of the Punjab Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1966, under which no Government employees shall be a member of or be otherwise associated with, any political party or any organization which takes part in politics nor shall take part in, subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or any activity. It is clarified that the Government have always held the activities of the Rashtrya Swayam Sevak Sangh and the Jamaat-e-Islami to be of such a nature that participation in them by Government employees would attract the provisions of sub-rule (1) of Rule 5 of the Punjab Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1966. Any Government Employee who is a member of or is otherwise associated with the aforesaid organisations or with their activities is thus liable to disciplinary action. It is requested that the above position may be brought to the notice of all Government employees under your control”.
Another letter was, however, issued on March 4, 1970 on the same subject in which the office of then chief secretary mentioned that “it has brought to the notice of the Government that provisions of sub Rule (1) of Rule 5 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 have been challenged in the Supreme Court of India, regarding the participation of Government servants in the activities of ‘Anand Marg’ and its Organisations. Accordingly, Government have decided that till final disposal of the case by the Supreme Court, it would not be appropriate at this stage to take any action against Government Servants in terms of the letter referred to above for participation in the activities of the Rashtrya Swayam Sevak Sangh and Jamaat-e-Islami”.
In in absence of any formal instructions on the issue since then, it was being construed that the government employees can not associate themselves with the RSS or Jamaat-e-Islami. Incidentally, the Centre had lifted the ban in 1975.
A senior Haryana government officer said, “The Ministry of Home Affairs in 1975 had lifted the ban while allowing the government servants across the country to join organisations such as the RSS, Jamaat-e-Islami and Anand Marg. Apparently, it was not read by anybody in Haryana till date. Also, the new Conduct Rules had come in effect in 2016 and superseded all executive instructions issued earlier. As such RSS or Jamaat-e-Islami are not political organisations listed with the Election Commission of India. Thus, the Haryana government has now just reiterated the MHA’s instructions. There is no ban on any government employee in being associated with these organisations,” the officer said.
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