Ashwani Sood is a farmer who resides in a village of moderate size in the Sitamarhi district of Bihar. He was once chosen to lead the local Panchayat. He has a 25-year-old young son Divyansh. Being the only son of the family, Divyansh was pampered and became spoilt. He was arrogant, always wanted to have his way and would pick up a fight at the slightest opportunity.
A primary school teacher of the area was shot in the head by Divyansh in full view of a large number of persons. He was arrested and remained in jail, despite several attempts to come out.
The MLA of the district is happened to be a part of state cabinet and is also a longtime friend of Ashwani and is currently very influential in the government. The present District Magistrate (Sanjit) has good relations with the minister as he had worked under this Minister in the secretariat before he came to this district and was also recommended by him.
Later, the cabinet minister from the district called Sanjit for recommending parole to Divyansh.
The Minister did not claim that Divyansh is innocent; his pleading was restricted to the circumstances the family was passing through as his mother had died recently. The Minister’s request has created a somewhat difficult situation for Sanjit. This Minister rarely intervenes in any administrative day-to-day functions.
What would be the course of action should Sanjit follow and why?18 Nov, 2022 GS Paper 4 Case Studies
- Briefly introduce your answer by explaining the ethical issue.
- Discuss about various stakeholders involved in the case.
- Discuss your course of action.
- Conclude suitably.
The case involved the misuse of political connections and power by the panchayat head Ashwani to protect his notorious son from imprisonment and further, trying to release him on parole.
- Stakeholders involved in case:
- Ashwani, who is panchayat leader.
- Divyansh, a spoiled son of Ashwani.
- MLA, who is cabinet member of state.
- Sanjit, who is district magistrate.
Ethical issues involved
- Impartiality: Sanjit doesn’t need take side with any party involved with the case, and rather treat them equally and resolve the issues with same priorities without fear, favour, affection and ill will.
- Code of Conduct: Sanjit as a district magistrate has professional Responsibility to follow the rule book, if he tries to save Divyansh on the advice from MLA this action is against the All India Services Rules.
Course of action:
- The first course action would be to reject the request of the minister to release Divyansh:
- An outright rejection may not go well with the Minister. He seems decent, and well disposed towards Sanjit, therefore, he should be aware of the potential consequences of this conduct and the possibility that he will be dismissed from the probe, it may make perfect sense for Sanjit to maintain a strong relationship with the Minister as other compromised person could take control of the case. Therefore, the first option is undesirable.
- The second course of action would be to tell the minister that his intervention in the matter is unwarranted:
- This course of action will be needlessly offensive. Being public representatives, ministers have a tendency of making various recommendations. Civil servants can take their decisions after examining the matter, but there is no need to unnecessarily offend the minister by deliberately telling him that his intervention in the case is undesirable.
- The third course of action would be to recommend Divyansh’s parole for three months without any detailed examination:
- This course of action is improper, as it goes against the rule of law and code of conduct of civil servant, further it is tantamount to simply accepting parole of Divyansh without any further examination.
- The fourth course of action would be to recommend Divyansh’s parole only for a short period of 10 days with various precautionary conditions.
- If Divyansh is released on parole for longer period of time, then the worst-case scenario would be that he may try to break witnesses to his crimes as he had done earlier. He may misdirect investigation if charge sheet under IPC is not already filed.
- To prevent such possibilities the Sanjit must be careful. Divyansh is a Hindu and there are Hindu customs to follow after one loses parents. Therefore, Sanjit might show inclination to recommend parole for only ten days so that social customs may be followed. This would show sensitivity and should satisfy the minister. He should also make it a condition that two armed guards would accompany Divyansh all the time so that he does not run away. Further, Sanjit should also ask senior police personnel to put plains clothes to check if Divyansh is approaching the witnesses. Circumscribed in this way the ten days of parole may pass peacefully.
Thus, the fourth course of action would be my final course of action, as it takes care the need of implementation of rule of law and doesn’t put wrong signals among the society, and relation of Sanjit would not be hampered with minister. Further, this action would be seem as justice is been served and Divyansh would not get any special treatment despite having political connections, muscle and money power, lastly only rule of law will take its course.
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