Avoid discussing official matters on social media: CBDT to I-T

New Delhi: The Central Board of Direct Taxes has asked Income Tax department officials to “avoid” discussing official decisions on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and others.

A directive in this regard has been issued by the CBDT, the policy-making body of the tax department, to all regional heads of the organisation in the country for circulation to the officials.

“It has been noticed that some officers of the department are frequently discussing official decisions, including minutes of in-camera meetings on social media platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and others. Such discussion or circulation of official material without authorisation of the Competent Authority is to be avoided,” said the directive.

Insisting that special officers have been appointed to post information on social media, CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra wrote to his regional chiefs recently saying that ”Unauthorised or unofficial circulation of minutes of meetings, official discussions of any kind on social media must be avoided at all costs.”

Officials said the CBDT had come across various instances in this regard in the past and hence had issued the latest directive.

The letter also quotes service rules, Rule 11 of the Central Civil Services Conduct Rules, 1964, in this context, “Provided that no government servant shall, except in accordance with any general or special order of the government or in performance in good faith of the duties assigned to him, communicate directly or indirectly, any official document or any part thereof or classified information to any government servant or any other person to whom he is not authorised to communicate such document or classified information.”

The department has an official handle on micro-blogging site Twitter– ‘@IncomeTaxIndia’– where it issues official information to the public.