Study Material | Prelims Test Series
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Case studies

12 Solved Questions with Answers
  • 2016

    9. A fresh engineering graduate gets a job in a prestigious chemical industry. She likes the work. The salary is also good. However, after a few months she accidentally discovers that a highly toxic waste is being secretly discharged into a river nearby. This is causing health problems to the villagers downstream who depend on the river for their water needs. She is perturbed and mentions her concern to her colleagues who have been with the company for longer periods. They advise her to keep quite as anyone who mentions the topic is summarily dismissed. She cannot risk losing her job as she is the sole bread-winner for her family and has to support her ailing parents and siblings. At first, she thinks that if her seniors are keeping quiet, why should she stick out her neck. But her conscience pricks her to do something to save the river and the people who depend upon it. At heart she feels that the advice of silence given by her friends is not correct though she cannot give reasons for it. She thinks you are a wise person and seeks your advice. (2016)

    (a) What arguments can you advance to show her that keeping quiet is not morally right?

    (b) What course of action would you advice her to adopt and why?

    (a) Arguments in favour of not keeping quiet are as follows:

    • ‘Business without morality’ is the most important point to be kept in mind so the secretive discharge of highly toxic waste must be made public.
    • As a conscience citizen she must keep in mind the right of life of the villagers compelling her to speak. Usually people join such voices/movements against injustice and all that they need is a trigger, in this case the villagers need a spokesperson.
    • Company making profits by jeopardising the lives of people at the expense of health of both the river and the villagers is immoral and not ethically right.
    • On the question of integrity she must speak up against the company. Discharge of toxic waste is not only morally wrong but is environmental hazardous too.

    (b) Course of action that can be advised to her is as follows:

    • Moral persuasion should be the first step. She should consult her colleagues one more time. It is likely that would still not budge but again there is a possibility that she might be able to conscience even one of them.
    • The residents of the villages must be made aware about their right to life which includes a healthy life.
    • After some ground work like talking to villagers, the health problem faced by them, testing the level of toxicity of rivers a report must be made. She can show this report to her immediate senior to remind the company of the environment laws as well as corporate social responsibility.
    • Since profit is the sole aim of the company she can present a case study where companies lost business due to loss of confidence of people.
    • She can take the assistance of the local NGO as well as media to create pressure on the company as well other big industries working on similar lines.
    • She can inform the district administration of the same wrongdoing and seek their help.
    • As a last resort she can file public interest litigation on behalf of the villagers as the toxic level of discharge and take head of the whistle blower’s act.

    There is high chance of her loosing the job, so simultaneously she can start looking for a new job since even if the complains go unheard she might not continue in the company on moral grounds.

  • 2016

    10. Land needed for mining, dams and other large-scale projects is acquired mostly from Adivasis, hill dwellers and rural communities. The displaced persons are paid monetary compensation as per the legal provisions. However, the payment is often tardy. In any case, it cannot sustain the displaced families for long. These people do not possess marketable skills to engage in some other accusation. They end up as low paid migrant labourers. Moreover, the development goes to industries, industrialists and urban communities whereas the costs are passed on to these poor helpless people. This unjust distribution of costs and benefits is unethical.

    Suppose you have been entrusted with the task of drafting a better compensation-cum-rehabilitation policy for such displaced persons, how would you approach the problem and what would be the main elements of your suggested policy? (2016)

    The rights of adivasis, rural communities, hill dwellers their rights over the forest resources under the Forest Right Act (FRA) must be kept in mind along with various compensations like payment, jobs in the upcoming industries etc.

    Though FRA was passed in 2006 according to the Citizens’s Report prepared by Community Forest Rights, only 3% of villages or communities could actually secure their rights.

    Approach to be adopted

    • Rehabilitation must be fixed according to the community or category of people being displaced which should ensure them basic amenities subject to restrictions for forest protection.
    • Even after compensation they should not be deprived of their user rights like forest produce which includes grazing and pastoralist routes etc. For example, Telangana government in total violation of forest rights act has illegalized traditional methods of forest land cultivation, creating a lot of unrest in the area.
    • ‘Free informed consent’ of gram sabhas for any government plans to remove tribal/hill dwellers from the forests and for the settlement or rehabilitation package should not be undermined in any circumstance.

    Main Elements must include

    • Creating awareness among the lot about community right’s provision.
    • Ensuring that implementation of laws of community forest provision is undiluted.
    • Nodal tribal departments must provide clear instructions to the concerned administrators. However without a strong political will, these instructions almost go unheard.
    • Imparting skills to the displaced migrants should be made compulsory along with compensation. This would give them right to decide whether they want to migrate as a labourer or work in the upcoming industry.
    • FRA should be a major hurdle for corporate to cross with the intentions of single handed profit making.
    • Since most of the tribal states have a poor record of implementation of the compensatory provisions, the FRA must be made more transparent. The concerned authority must be made accountable for non compliance.
    • A grievance redressal mechanism must be created wherein the tribals/displaced can openly register their complaints. These should be appraised regularly to dispense those complaints.

    Such displacements straight away violate the right to life of the dwellers of such areas. Proper rehabilitation of the displaced population must be ensured.

  • 2016

    11. Suppose you are an officer in charge of implementing a social service scheme to provide support to old and destitute women. An old and illiterate woman comes to you to avail the benefits of the scheme. However, she has no documents to show that she fulfils the eligibility criteria. But after meeting her and listening to her you feel that she certainly needs support. Your enquiries also show that she is really destitute and living in a pitiable condition. You are in a dilemma as to what to do. Putting her under the scheme without necessary documents would clearly be violation of rules. But denying her the support would be cruel and inhuman. (2016)

    (a) Can you think of a rational way to resolve this dilemma?

    (b) Give your reasons for it.

    (a) In the given case, according to enquiry done by office in charge the old women is realy a destitute women and deserves the benefits under social service scheme. So not providing the benefits just because of lack of documents would defeat the noble purpose of this social service scheme itself. Though it may be legally right but morally and ethically it would be wrong. To resolve this dilemma following actions can be taken following rules of law.

    • The women is old and illiterate, so just giving directions to complete the documents would not help her. I would ask a subordinate officer to help that women in completing necessary documents, and providing benefits to her.
    • Though there may be some delays in completing the document so in this specific condition, I would write to my senior officer and ask permission for some discretionary powers so that I can provide immediate relief to old women.
    • This is the specific case that came into my knowledge but there may be lots of similar cases. To resolve these types of cases, I would inform to the senior authorities and ask them to appoint a special officer that would look only the problem related with old and illiterate person who are not able to complete their documents. A special desk in the office can be assigned to these types of cases.

    (b) My action would provide the benefit of scheme to old women and would not keep her out of the ambit of benefits just because she is not capable of completing her documents. This action would be compliant to rule of law and would also be humane in nature. My action to inform the seniors to resolve these types of cases would solve the problems for future also. It would reduce the hurdles such as red tapism, bureaucratic inertia in getting benefits of such social security schemes. Rule of Law with inclusion of humanity aspect would be taken care of by this action.

  • 2016

    12. You are a young, aspiring and sincere employee in a Government office working as an assistant to the director of your department. Since you have joined recently, you need to learn and progress. Luckily your superior is very kind and ready to train you for your job. He is a very intelligent and well-informed person having knowledge of various departments. In short, you respect your boss and are looking forward to lean a lot from him.

    Since you have good tuning with the boss, he started depending on you. One day due to ill health he invited you at his place for finishing some urgent work.

    You reached his house and before you could ring the bell you heard shouting noises. You waited for a while. After entering the house the boss greeted you and explained the work. But you were constantly disturbed by the crying of a woman. At last, you inquired with the boss but his answer did not satisfy you.

    Next day, you were compelled to inquire further in the office and found out that his behavior is very bad at home with his wife. He also beats up his wife. His wife is not well educated and is a simple woman in comparison to her husband. you see that though your boss is a nice person in the office, he is engaged in domestic violence at home.

    In such a situation, you are left with the following options. Analyse each option with its consequences. (2016)

    (a) Just ignore thinking about it because it is their personal matter.

    (b) Repost the case to the appropriate authority.

    (c) Your own innovative approach towards situation.

    The above situation represents a case of domestic violence by an upstanding government officer against his wife. As an assistant to the officer, the options available to me are:

    (a) Just ignore the situation since it is a personal matter: By doing so the situation remains the same and domestic violence against the wife would continue. Being aware of this fact, I should not turn a blind eye and take measures to rectify the situation. Doing nothing would not be ethically and morally right. Further, as a government officer knowing that a law is being violated and not taking any steps to prevent it would also be legally wrong.

    At the same time, by not informing on my boss, I would be ensuring my job security since he is I already have a good tuning with him.

    (b) Report the case to the appropriate authority: If I do so, my boss may come to know about my involvement and as his junior, he could make things difficult for me at work.

    On the other hand, by informing the authorities about the situation, I would be ensuring that the suffering of the wife is ended and my boss is made accountable for his actions. This is legally, morally and ethically the right course of action.

    (c) Approaching the wife and making her aware of her rights under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: Since the wife is uneducated, she may not be aware of her legal rights and therefore, informing here is important so that she can herself file a case against her husband. In the second option stated above, I would be filing the complaint as a third person which can weaken the case. Also, being ignorant about her rights, if the boss threatens her, she may get cowered and not speak the truth. Hence, apprising her of her rights is necessary so that she can state her case without fear to the authorities.

    At the same time I would also engage with my senior to help change his mindset by explaining to him the implications of his actions and also getting him in touch with his relatives and friends to persuade him to see the wrongness of his behavior so that he is dissuaded from doing something similar in future.

  • 2017

    9. You are an honest and responsible civil servant. You often observe the following:
    (a) There is a general perception that adhering to ethical conduct one may face difficulties to oneself and cause problems for the family, whereas unfair practices may help to reach the career goals.
    (b) When the number of people adopting unfair means is large, a small minority having a penchant towards ethical means makes no difference.
    (c) Sticking to ethical means is detrimental to the larger developmental goals
    (d) While one may not involve oneself in large unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gifts makes the system more efficient.
    Examine the above statements with their merits and demerits. (2017)

    (a) Demerit Strict adherence to ethical conduct may cause problems in carrying out certain aims both in public and private life causing disaffection arising out of inability to reach goals. Being upright also pits the person against powerful vested interest, endangering his and his family’s life, which may not be worth the cost of ethical principles.

    Merit: Even though adherence to ethical conduct may produce disaffection from inability to reach certain short term career goals, but mere attainment of materialistic goals cannot be essence of life. Achieving goals by unfair means would prick our conscience and erode strength of character. The security of life and family members can also be assured for a person of upright character by preventing him from being implicated on charges of wrongdoing.

    In the long run ethical conduct always helps in achieving life’s larger goals, such as mental peace, clear conscience, strength of character and brings harmony and balance in life.

    (b) Demerit: When a large number of people are corrupt, a few good men can’t help salvage the situation as their voices drown in the majority. Moreover, in such a scenario upright men are deemed as obstruction by others in achieving their selfish aims through unfair means. This brings the upright men in direct confrontation with such corrupt forces, sometimes endangering their values, life and career. For example, civil servant Satyendra Dubey was killed while standing against the corrupt forces.

    Merit: Even though there might be instances of large number of corrupt prevailing over few honest individuals, it’s these few upright men that sustain the faith of people in humanity and society. They act as check against larger wrongdoings, constraining their power and also exposing and uprooting them. They act as role model for larger society to adhere to what is right. For example, Anna Hazare stood up as a crusader against corruption; T.N. Seshan, the chief election commissioner, countermanded elections in Bihar, U.P. citing mass rigging.

    (c) Demerit: Ethical means may at times not merge with the larger developmental ends. In trying to adhere to correct means, if one misses the goals then means lose their significance, no matter how ethical they were. For example, Robinhood morals may achieve larger goal of saving the poor, even if by questionable means of looting the rich, than sticking to moral means and letting the poor die of hunger. 

    Merit: To preserve the ethical and moral values it is important that both means and ends are right. Trying to achieve a noble goal with unethical means impinges upon the ethical fabric of individual and society at large, prompting a person for further compromises in the future. For example; Gandhiji emphasised upon the means to be ethical through way of Ahimsa as much as he emphasised on the result, the independence.

    (d) Demerit: Exchange of small gifts is sometimes seen as essential to maintain formal relations, as a symbol of gratitude for the services rendered. Not accepting gifts may be perceived to be rude, morally arrogant and at times may isolate the person from the larger circle of this give and take culture.

    Merit: Sometimes corruption is not carried out explicitly but is masked in form of these small exchanges, rendering bigger scandals possible. Hence, it is essential to nip this menace in the bud. Not accepting any form of gifts indicates a strong moral and ethical character preserving the trust of people in person in the long run.

  • 2016

    13. ABC Ltd. is a large transnational company having diversified business activities with a huge shareholder base. The company is continuously expanding and generating employment. The company, in its expansion and diversification programme, decides to establish a new plant at Vikaspuri, an area which is underdeveloped. The new plant is designed to use energy efficient technology that will help the company to save production cost by 20%. The company’s decision goes well with the Government policy of attracting investment to develop such underdeveloped regions. The government has also announced tax holiday for five years for the companies that invest in underdeveloped areas. However, the new plant may bring chaos for the inhabitants of Vikaspuri region, which is otherwise tranquil. The new plant may result in increased cost of living, aliens migrating to the region, disturbing the social and economic order. The company sensing the possible protest tried to educate the people of Vikaspuri region and public in general that how its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy would help overcome the likely difficulties of the residents of Vikaspuri region. In spite of this the protests begin and some of the residents decided to approach the judiciary as their plea before the Government did not yield any result. (2016)

    (a) Identify the issues involved in the case.

    (b) What can be suggested to satisfy the company’s goal and to address the residents’ concern?

    (a) Ways to satisfy company’s goals to address resident’s concern:

    • Environment impact assessment should be conducted in the first place with a non partisan approach.
    • Government and Company must work in tandem to ensure that the problems of the residents are taken care of through the CSR programs. However, CSR programs alone will not be able to do much, so correct initiatives must be taken by the government too.
    • Legislative Representative of the area should accompany the company officials when information camps about the project are set up to develop a sense of belief amongst the residents. If the residents are convinced that the intentions are as genuine as the talks they will not be bothered with the project.

    Issues involved in this case

    • Due to limited livelihood options increased cost of living for the people most of which might belong to lower middle class strata or below will become a major problem to handle.
    • Since the area is already underdeveloped resources like land, water, public services like health, education, a planned sewer management system will be inadequate. An under planned area with sudden migration of people will not be able to cater to the basic needs like health, resident or education for the people which is known to have long term effects.
    • Though the company claims to tackle all the difficulties through CSR, construction of basic infrastructure can take a lot of time which may further add to the chaos.

    (b) Blockade always arises due to lack of faith and doubt on the intentions of the company which is always, seen as profit making. To negate this company should adhere to its promises which in turn will be benevolent for both the parties. Such cases bring in the question of right of life versus development of community. For example lands were acquired by the Andhra government for developing the capital city of Amravati and they were promised that 20% of their land will be returned after being developed. Such initiative instill confidence in people and they would eventually not oppose such development.

  • 2017

    10. You are aspiring to become an IAS officer and you have cleared various stages and now you have been selected for the personal interview. On the day of the interview, on the way to the venue you saw an accident where a mother and child who happen to be your relatives were badly injured. They needed immediate help.
    What would you have done in such a situation? Justify your action. (2017)

    In the above case:

    Stakeholders involved: The mother and child, me, society at large.

    Ethical dilemmas: personal cost ethical dilemma v/s civic duty

    Values at play: compassion, civic and moral duty.

    Course of action: In the following situation I will take following steps:-

    First, I will try taking help of the bystanders there and persuade them to get to the nearest hospital for immediate help to accident victims and persuade them to do so on humanitarian, civic and legal grounds (Good Samaritan Law) and assure them of no harassment at the hands of medical and legal authorities (due to which they might hesitate from helping) under Good Samaritan Law also.

    I would also call ambulance for medical help and police for further investigation and apprise them of the situation at the earliest, so that I am relieved off the safety of the victim and can peacefully go for interview.

    Meanwhile I would also try calling up my relatives or friends to rush to the hospital and take over the responsibility so that I can reach for interview on time. I will also try informing the concerned authorities at UPSC for the delay and will explain my situation.

    The above actions, on one hand, will ensure timely medical attention for the accident victims, and will also help me take care of the interview, without compromising my responsibilities either as a citizen, relative or as an aspirant.

  • 2016

    14. Saraswati was a successful IT professional in USA. Moved by patriotic sense of doing something for the country she returned to India. Together with some other like-minded friends, she formed an NGO to build a school for a poor rural community.The objective of the school was to provide the best quality modern education at a nominal cost. She soon discovered that she has to seek permission from a number of Government agencies. The rules and procedures were quite confusing and cumbersome. What frustrated her most were delays, callous attitude of officials and constant demand for bribes. Her experience and the experience of many others like her have deterred people from taking up social service projects.

    A measure of Government control over voluntary social work is necessary. But it should not be exercised in a coercive and corrupt manner. What measures can you suggest to ensure that due control is exercised but well meaning, honest NGO efforts are not thwarted? (2016)

    First of all developmental process like these aimed at imparting knowledge to rural poor community which will eventually help them in achieving a better standard of living should be encouraged.

    Saraswati and her friends were all determined to bring about a positive change through the medium of NGO. They should be facilitated with all possible support in a stipulated time to ensure that their passion is not thwarted.

    Posing unnecessary hindrances by creating excessive bureaucratic clearances to block the slightest likelihood of wrong doing is recurring news in case of NGO with malicious intentions these days. However, they should not create roadblocks for those with genuine intentions.

    Methods that can be adopted:

    • Laying out simple rules applying to all new entrants as well the existing ones. Reducing red tapism experienced in form of exhaustive paper work and clearances from various departments.
    • Strict action against complaints regarding intentional blocking of entry of new NGO by a concerned authority in lieu of bribe and personal favour.
    • Recently many NGO's have faced cancellation of their registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. These cancellations have been widely criticized. The government has been charged with stalling ground level work which is carried by NGOs. In order to avert such situation transparent system for both grant providers and receivers of such funds should be created.
    • Regular appraisals of NGO by government officials must be conducted to verify the purpose, nature of work and practices followed by NGOs to ensure credibility of an NGO.
    • Trust deficit created between NGOs and the government, both questioning each other's intention must be worked out as the common man suffers the most in between as visible in the case of Saraswati.

    Government and its official through NGOs and their personnels must ensure that the policies/programs of the former reaches the downtrodden, rural as well as in remote areas so they both need to work in tandem to achieve development.

  • 2017

    11. You are the head of the Human Resources department of an organization. One day one of the workers died on duty. His family was demanding compensation. However, the company denied compensation because it was revealed in investigation that he was drunk at the time of the accident. The workers of the company went on to strike demanding compensation for the family of the deceased. The Chairman of the management board has asked for your recommendation.
    What recommendation would you provide to the management?
    Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the recommendation. (2017)

    Option 1: Let the law take its own course. As the worker was drunk during duty, the company cannot be held responsible for his death.

    This may sound right as the worker was bound to follow rules at the place of work. However, the strike by the remaining workers could affect the image and productivity of the company. No matter the outcome, the trust between workers and the management would be lost.

    Option 2: Recommend the company to offer compensation.

    But this would set a bad precedent among the management as well as the workers. To offer compensation would mean to let down the safety regulations of the company. The management may also not appreciate the payment as they were not liable for compensation due to negligence showed by the worker.

    Option 3: Recommend the management to offer alternative employment to the kin of the deceased. Push the management to adopt stricter prevention and safety measures.

    The third option is suitable as it would be better to bring the situation under control. The workers could be placated if the kin of the deceased would be offered a job. And also the company may prefer to not lose image and man days due to the strike.

  • 2017

    12. You are the manager of a spare parts company A and you have to negotiate a deal with the manager of a large manufacturing company B. The deal is highly competitive and sealing the deal is critical for your company. The deal is being worked out over a dinner. After dinner the manager of manufacturing company B offered to drop you to the hotel in his car. On the way to hotel he happens to hit motorcycle injuring the motorcyclist badly. You know the manager was driving fast and thus lost control. The law enforcement officer comes to investigate the issue and you are the sole eyewitness to it. Knowing the strict laws pertaining to road accidents you are aware that your honest account of the incident would lead to the prosecution of the manager and as a consequence the deal is likely to be jeopardised, which is of immense importance to your company.
    What are the dilemmas you face? What will be your response to the situation? (2017)

    In the above case
    The stakeholders involved are:

    • Manager of company A that is me and the company itself
    • Manager of company B
    • The motorcyclist

    In the given situation following ethical dilemmas arise:-

    Personal cost ethical dilemma: If I give an honest account of incidents to the investigating authorities, the critical deal will be lost for my company.

    Moral dilemma: If I do not report the incident, fearing the loss of deal, the defaulter will not be brought to the book and motorcyclist will not be assured justice, who is critically injured. My conscience would prick me in the long term for not taking the right action in pursuance of selfish interests.

    Legal dilemma: Not giving the correct account of accident would also be legally wrong since an accident has taken place critically injuring a person.

    Response to the situation

    The situation involves life of a person who has been critically injured and my personal interests regarding the deal, being at stake. There is also a legal dimension to it as the Manager of other company was over speeding that led to the accident.

    In this situation, I would cooperate with the investigating agency, giving the correct details of the accident and let law take its own course. This would affect the deal thereby affecting the interests of company but it would be unethical, illegal and immoral on my part to continue a deal with the person implicated for an accident for negligent driving and shield him from authorities, moreover, it would be wrong for the motorcyclist to be denied justice, who is critically injured despite being innocent.

    The growth of company can be ensured along with adhering to moral principles of truth, justice and moral uprightness, which need to be protected.

  • 2017

    13. A building permitted for three floors, while being extended illegally to 6 floors by a builder, collapses. As a consequence, a number of innocent labourers including women and children died. These labourers are migrants of different places. The government immediately announced cash relief to the aggrieved families and arrested the builder.

    Give reasons for such incidents taking place across the country. Suggest measures to prevent their occurrence. (2017)

    There are numerous incidences of building collapse reported across the country on regular basis killing innocent labourers and people living in them. Poor and shoddy construction along with non-compliance of regulations has done immense damage to the life of people.

    The reasons that could be attributed to such incidence on regular basis are discussed in following points –

    • The ease with which rule and regulations are bypassed by the builders remains the main concern. The National Building Code that provides guidelines for regulating building construction activities, are not adhered by builders.
    • Apathy towards laws make illegal construction a trend that continues to take life of innocent citizens.
    • Moreover, the standards prescribed for construction are at best poorly defined that people either do not understand or are not aware of.
    • Poor designs of buildings that could not withstand extra floors are also no less to be blamed. Poor quality materials used in construction makes any expansion a tough proposition.
    • At the root of such incidence is unplanned urbanisation that forces one to opt for accommodation that is built illegally on face of limited choices that people get in ever expanding urban areas.
    • Somewhere government has also failed in providing affordable accommodation to citizens hence they go for illegal properties.
    • Above all the builders’ moral attributes are to be blamed in totality that finds it alright to compromise people’s life in return for monetary gains.

    Measures to prevent such occurrences–

    • First and foremost, rules and regulations need to be defined in clear terms and enforced effectively. Standards defined in National Building Code need to be effectively adhered to.
    • Those who break laws should be given stringent punishment to deter others from breaking such laws.
    • Citizens should be made more aware about laws and rules regarding construction activities, so that they avoid purchasing any such illegally constructed property/building.
    • Crèche facilities and proper welfare mechanism should be put in place for children of women labourer working at construction sites.
    • Planned urbanisation will go a long way in addressing this concern. Satellite towns need to be built to ease the pressure on main cities.

  • 2017

    14. You are a Public Information Officer (PIO) in a government department. You are aware that the RTI Act 2005 envisages transparency and accountability in administration. The act has functioned as a check on the supposedly arbitrarily administrative behaviour and actions. However, as a PIO you have observed that there are citizens who filed RTI applications not for themselves but on behalf of such stakeholders who purportedly want to have access to information to further their own interests. At the same time there are these RTI activists who routinely file RTI applications and attempt to extort money from the decision makers. This type of RTI activism has affected the functioning of the administration adversely and also possibly jeopardises the genuineness of the applications which are essentially aimed at getting justice.

    What measures would you suggest to separate genuine and non-genuine applications? Give merits and demerits of your suggestions. (2017)

    Over the year the RTI act has emerged as a milestone in assuring transparency in administration and governance. It has provided a tool in hands of citizens to bring the best out of the government but in many cases the act has also served as a way to harass government officials and extort money.

    To deal with such situations following measures are available –

    • Those filing RTI applications may be asked to mention about any connection/interest they have in the concerned department. Applicants might be given options to specify whether information asked serves public purpose or private interest.
    • Merit: It might help to identify the persons who indulge in misuse of RTI and other wrong doing.
    • Demerit: It makes the process a little cumbersome for the genuine applicants.
    • All the previous applications under the RTI could be scrutinized to bring out the trends in asking questions so that genuine applications can be segregated from the non-genuine ones. Habitual offenders can be closely monitored.
    • Merit: It will help in creating a robust database of almost all applicants for the future reference of the department and also identify the miscreants.
    • Demerit: It will create extra burden on the employees of the department as they might have to take help of other departments and law and order agencies.
    • Few changes regarding charges and fees associated with providing information can be made in the law. There should be no changes in the fee for initial filing of the applications. But if they are found to be false or serving the vested interests of someone in later investigations, then a suitable monetary fine may be imposed.
    • Merit: It will act as a check on insincere and unscrupulous applicants and hit others economically for wrong doing.
    • Demerit: It will create a divide and discrimination between rich and poor people. Economically well off and non genuine applicants will not hesitate to file applications while the poor will be discouraged to do so. 

    The above steps will help in segregating genuine applications from the non genuine ones and will help take the effective actions accordingly. However in the given question, there are RTI activists who are attempting to extort money from the decision makers. It indicates the systemic flaws in the government department itself. Besides it points to the fact that decision makers want to hide the information as it might expose the wrongdoings in the governance. Therefore the governance itself should be reformed and transparency and accountability should never be forsaken. The genuine applicants must be provided with the requisite information. Better option would be to play a pro-active role and put most of the information that are not exempted under the act in the public domain for easy accessibility by public.

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