Case Study - 19: Rule of Law vs Social Norms
- 09 Nov 2019
- 7 min read
You are the Superintendent of Police (SP) in the district where instances of honour killing are rampant. One day you receive a phone call from a girl informing you of the potential threat to her and her partners’ life from her family as she has decided to marry a boy belonging to a lower caste. Moreover, the local police station is not filing the FIR or granting them protection. You ask her to visit your office but she demands police protection to come out from the hideout as her father’s goons are chasing her.
On further inquiry, you come to know that the girl is the daughter of one of the most powerful Minister of the State and both girl and boy are legally eligible to get married. The family is concerned about the family prestige due to the lower caste of the boy and also of the financial stability of marriage as they both are unemployed. You are under extreme political pressure to charge the boy of kidnapping the girl or else face the consequences.
In such circumstances, point out the ethical dilemma faced by you and options available to you. Also, chalk out the course of action you would prefer to follow. (250 words)
Facts of the case:
- Personal v/s professional ethics: Adhering to the demands of political leaders by not providing protection to the couple or following legal duty to provide safety and security to the couple.
- Following social norms v/s ethical norms: Accepting inter-caste marriage is not socially acceptable but moral standards suggest to allow the couple to exercise their free will.
|Allowing the communities to handle the situation themselves.||
|Providing police protection to the couple and following standard legal procedures.||
Option (2) should be the correct approach to handle the situation.
Course of action
|1.||Initiating preliminary inquiry and validating the facts||
|2.||Filing FIR and providing police protection||
|3.||Providing legal, financial and moral support to the couple||
|4.||Convincing their parents and community members.||
|5.||Initiating awareness drive against casteism and honour killing||
Measures to deal with the crisis
- Initiate steps for attitudinal change to reduce caste prejudices, abolish untouchability and spread the values of liberty, equality, fraternity, etc in the society.
- Utilizing Dr Ambedkar scheme for social integration through inter-caste marriages to extend financial incentive to the couple to enable them to settle down in the initial phase of their married life.
- The SP must show spirit of service and conviction to ensure justice to the couple. He must ensure that a safe and secure environment is created in the district so that no one should fear of moral policing.
- Taking confidence building measures to regain the trust of people on the administration.
The false notions of honour and pride are so deep rooted that people even forget the social bonds of love and emotions with their own children. Thus, the attitudinal change programmes must target the revival of social bonds and realizing them about need to give respect to human lives and compassion.