The latest GO that empowers senior IAS officers in Andhra Pradesh to initiate action against media stories that seem defamatory, false and baseless, will leave them worried. Because the general feeling is that the government is firing from their shoulder.
Hitherto, it was a centralised system of the Information commissioner dealing with all such cases and most of the orders would be issued by junior officers. The government’s decision now has brought dealing with the media, within the ambit of department secretaries.
The concern is that the officers will be under pressure from their political bosses to initiate action should the latter find anything unpalatable. And this may label officers as pro-YSRCP instead of being seen as independent minded professional bureaucrats. This could affect their career prospects going forward, if they toe the line of the political establishment.
The apprehension is also because of past experience. Two IAS officers who served under YS Rajasekhara Reddy as chief minister found themselves in prison in different cases while their plea was that they were merely following political orders. Even this week, three retired IAS officers found themselves in the dock for clearance of legal fee for fighting a case connected with Jaganmohan Reddy’s cases.