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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. You are an IPS officer posted in an area where communal tensions are very much prevalent. One day, a religious procession is being carried out by one community. As they reach the area dominated by another community, sudden firing starts, resulting in several people in the procession getting injured and taken hostage. When you send the police force to control the situation, the force also gets pushed back by the aggressors. Among the hostages, there are individuals who are severely injured and require urgent medical treatment.

    A. What are the ethical dilemmas that you face in this situation?
    B. What are the possible courses of action that you can take to resolve the crisis?
    C. How will you justify your chosen course of action in terms of ethical principles and values?

    08 Sep, 2023 GS Paper 4 Case Studies


    • Briefly introduce the case and mention the stakeholders involved in this case.
    • Discuss the Ethical dilemmas faced in the case. Analyze the possible courses of actions. Choose the best course of action and justify your choice with relevant arguments.
    • Conclude by summarizing your answer and restate your chosen course of action.


    In this case, as an IPS officer posted in an area with prevalent communal tensions, I am faced with a complex and highly volatile situation. A religious procession conducted by one community has turned into a violent conflict as they pass through an area dominated by another community. The sudden firing has resulted in several people in the procession being injured and taken hostage, and even the police force I've sent to control the situation has been pushed back by the aggressors. Among the hostages, there are individuals who are severely injured and in need of urgent medical treatment.

    The stakeholders involved in this case are:

    • Injured Hostages
    • Religious Communities
    • Community Leaders
    • Police Force
    • IPS Officer (Me)
    • Government Authorities
    • Media
    • General Public

    A. Ethical Dilemmas faced by me as an IPS Officer:

    • Balancing Community Tensions vs. Ensuring Public Safety: As an IPS officer, I must balance the imperative of quelling immediate threats to public safety with the responsibility to prevent the escalation of communal tensions through intervention.
    • Use of Force vs. Minimizing Harm: As an IPS officer, I must navigate the tension between the duty to use necessary force to regain control of the situation and the obligation to minimize harm to civilians, including the hostages and law enforcement officers.
    • Prioritizing Medical Care vs. Restoring Order: As an IPS officer, I must weigh the urgency of providing immediate medical care to injured hostages against the imperative of restoring law and order by addressing the aggressors.

    B. The possible courses of action that I can take to resolve the crisis are:

    • Immediate Medical Aid: I would prioritize the immediate evacuation and medical treatment of severely injured hostages, irrespective of their community affiliation. This demonstrates my commitment to the value of human life.
    • Communication and Negotiation: I would initiate dialogue with community leaders and influential individuals from both sides to facilitate negotiations and a peaceful resolution. This approach aligns with my ethical principle of conflict resolution through peaceful means.
    • Use of Minimal Force: I would authorize the police force to use the minimum necessary force required to control the situation and protect innocent lives. I ensure that force is used proportionally and avoid indiscriminate violence.
    • Neutral Presence: I would deploy a diverse and neutral police force that represents the broader community and doesn't give the impression of favoritism. This reflects my ethical value of impartiality.
    • Legal Action: I would identify and apprehend the aggressors responsible for the firing, and ensure they are held accountable under the law. Upholding the rule of law is a fundamental ethical principle.
    • Transparency and Accountability: I would conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the incident, with transparency and accountability at its core. I ensure that any police misconduct is addressed promptly and fairly.
    • Community Engagement: I would promote community engagement and dialogue between the two communities to foster long-term peace and reconciliation. I encourage them to work together to prevent such incidents in the future.

    C. The ethical principles and values that justify my chosen course of action are:

    • Human Rights: I firmly believe in the paramount importance of safeguarding the lives and well-being of all individuals involved, regardless of their community affiliation. This belief aligns with my core values of respecting human rights.
    • Rule of Law: Upholding the rule of law is crucial for maintaining order and justice in our society. I believe that taking legal action against those responsible for the violence is necessary to reinforce this fundamental principle.
    • Impartiality: It is my belief that ensuring the police force remains impartial and does not show favoritism to any community is essential to maintain trust and fairness in the process.
    • Transparency and Accountability: I would advocate for conducting a fair and transparent investigation and holding any wrongdoers accountable. This, in my view, demonstrates a deep commitment to justice and ethical conduct.
    • Conflict Resolution: I am committed to promoting dialogue and negotiation as effective means of conflict resolution. I believe that embracing these approaches reflects a dedication to peaceful and ethical methods in resolving disputes.

    My chosen course of action would aim to protect lives, maintain the rule of law, and promote peace and reconciliation in the community while upholding ethical principles of justice and fairness.

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