Kerala: Govt orders restriction on employees’ creative works; does a re-think

On November 11, the Kerala government had issued an order that all state employees have to get first get permission and submit an affidavit that their creative work is not meant for profit before they pursue it. Once they get approval, they could go ahead.

Oommen Chandy

This was applicable to “literary, creative, academic and cultural activities” and even appearing on TV talk shows. There were widespread protests against this order and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has now asked the state secretary to look into the matter.

According to a report in The Indian Express, this order was related to Section 48 of Kerala Government Servants Conduct Rules which allowed them to pursue creative activities with prior permission.

However, since many employees were doing it without permission, this new order was passed states the report. The daily quoted CPM-affiliated Kerala Secretariat Employees Association general secretary M S Bijukuttan as saying, “We would strongly object to any move to curtail the literary and cultural activities of employees.”

V S Achuthanandan, the Opposition leader, was quoted as saying that the order showed the ‘Fascist face’ of the state government. However, state Public Relations Minister K C Joseph has clarified that state employees could engage in “literary activities within the confines of service rules.”