Office Procedure - SECURITY OF OFFICIAL INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS

CHAPTER X

SECURITY OF OFFICIAL INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS

55. Communication of official information -

Every Government Servant shall, in performance of his duties in good faith, communicate to a member of public or any organization full and accurate information, which can be disclosed under the Right to Information Act, 2005. (Nothing stated above shall be construed as permitting communication of classified information in an unauthorized manner or for improper gains to a Government Servant or others).

56. Treatment of classified papers -

(i) The provisions contained in this manual apply primarily to unclassified papers. In handling classified papers, the official concerned will exercise special care and follow the provisions under the Departmental Security Instructions’ issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Since according to these instructions classified papers (other than confidential) are expected to be handled either by officers themselves or in sections designated as ‘secret’ or ‘top secret’, it is essential that in sections not so designated:
(a) a separate set of registers and other records (e.g. dak register, section diary, file register, file movement register, precedent book, index slips, various arrears and disposal statements and electronic storage devices) are maintained by Section Officer herself/himself; and
(b) the recording of such files and their review is also undertaken by him personally, keeping in view the provisions under the Departmental Security Instructions.
(ii) Every classified file shall be reviewed once in five years for declassification. A declassified file considered fit for permanent preservation will be transferred to the National Archives.

57. Handling of classified papers -

For the purpose of attending meetings/discussions outside office, an officer not below the level of Section Officer / Desk Officer may carry confidential papers/files or an officer not below the level of Under Secretary may carry Secret papers/files, only under special circumstances with the written authorization of Joint Secretary level officer. The authorization will be produced by the officer on demand. Besides, provisions contained in the Manual of Departmental Security Instructions issued by Ministry of Home Affairs shall be followed in this regard.

58. Communication of information to the press -

(i) Official information to the press and other news media, i.e. radio and television, shall normally be communicated through the Press Information Bureau.
(ii) Only Ministers, Secretaries and other officers specifically authorized in this behalf may give information or be accessible to the representatives of the press. Any other official, if approached by a representative of the press, will direct them to the Press Information Bureau or the officer authorized or shall seek the permission of the Secretary of the department before meeting the press.
(iii) Detailed procedure in respect of matters mentioned in this para, as laid down by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, shall be followed.

59. Use of restrictive classification for printed reports etc -

(i) The restrictive declassification ‘For official use only’ will not be assigned to any printed report, pamphlet or compilation, unless it contains information disclosure of which would not be in the public interest. In doubtful cases, the test that may be usefully applied is whether the publication, whose circulation is proposed to restrict to official use only, is such that the Minister would be justified in refusing to lay it before the Parliament.
(ii) No official publication (including in electronic form) shall be marked ‘For official use only’ except with the prior approval of the branch officer, who shall obtain the orders of the Secretary or Minister in cases of doubt.