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Case studies

18 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.

  • 2019

    7. You are heading the rescue operations in an area affected by severe natural calamity. Thousands of people are rendered homeless and deprived of food, drinking water and other basic amenities. Rescue work has been disrupted by heavy rainfall and damage to supply routes. The local people are seething with anger against the delayed limited rescue operations. When your team reaches the affected area, the people there heckle and even assault some of the team members. One of pa-Ur team members is even severely injured. Faced with this crisis, some team members plead with you to call off the operations fearing
    threats to their life.

    In such trying circumstances, what will be your response? Examine the qualities of a public servant which will be required to manage the situation.

    My response in such a fervent atmosphere should be thoughtful, cogent and humane because there are various dilemmas involved. Leaving thousands unattended, when they are completely dependent on government help, would be an act of timidity and self preservation which is unbecoming of a public servant.

    Morale upliftment: The primary response for me, as the head of the rescue mission, is to reorient the focus of the group towards our real objectives. Since some of them are requesting to call off the mission I need to exhort them, with examples like – During the 2014 Floods in Kashmir, when the NDRF team started rescue mission, they were pelted with stones,their boats were snached and one of them was stabbed but they did not yield and went on to rescue more than 50000 people.

    Initially, when Mahatma Gandhi was marching barefoot in riot hit areas of Noakhali, his path was strewn with pieces of glass and animal excreta by the riot-affected people. Later, His unflinching courage and love for humanity created a miracle, when people themselves promised not to retaliate.

    Here, the anger of people is misplaced due to the popular perception of government servants. Once, people witness self-abnegation, dedication and courage in the rescue work they will start cooperating.

    Secondly, I would try to persuade people by taking help from those who are willing to cooperate, in such an exercise local leaders can also help.

    Apart from this, I will try to get cooperation from the government with respect to protection of my team members so that they may not be hurt in helping the people.

    Qualities required to effectively manage such situation

    • Spirit of service: Since the rescue team is vulnerable to physical and verbal attacks,only some higher cause can help an officer in composed and coordinated rescue work.
    • Leadership: In such circumstances,finality of any decision lies completely on the wisdom of the leader.He/She also needs to lead the team from the front; displaying personal courage and conviction.
    • Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: An officer needs to have empathy and emotional intelligence for understanding the behavior of disgruntled local people otherwise one may abort the relief mission or resort to use of force-which will only heighten their anger.
    • Power of persuasion: People seething with anger are reactive and short-sighted, making them agree for something requires the power of persuasion.
    • Patience and Presence of mind: A Public Servant can not afford to make spontaneous decisions in such situations. Any further course of action should be guided by considerate assessment and swift thinking.

    Thus, we need to have a sensitivity of the situation and not blame people for their reactions. Empathy and support is the key to rescue people in problems.

  • 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.

  • 2019

    8. Honesty and uprightness are the hallmarks of a civil servant. Civil servants possessing these qualities are considered as the backbone of any strong organization. In line of duty, they take various decisions, at times some become bonafide mistakes. As long as such decisions are not taken intentionally and do not benefit personally, the officer cannot be said to be guilty. Though such decisions may, at times, lead to unforeseen adverse consequences in the long-term.

    In the recent past, a few instances have surfaced wherein civil servants have been implicated for bonafide mistakes. They have often been prosecuted and even imprisoned. These instances have greatly rattled the moral fibre of the civil servants.

    How does this trend affect the functioning of the civil services? What measures can be taken to ensure that honest civil servants are not implicated for bonafide mistakes on their part? Justify your answer.

    The role of civil servants is to take decisions which have huge ramifications on the socio-economic growth of the country. However, instances of wrongful prosecution of honest officers deeply impact the morale of honest officers. It has multiple effects on the functioning of civil services in India:

    Affect on the functioning of the civil services

    • Impact on decision-making of officers: Officers will be averse to expressing their views. This may further aggravate red-tapism due to fear of departmental action for their incorrect decisions.
    • Hampers economic growth: With increasing private sector participation in public services, fear of prosecution may restrict honest officers to take progressive, bold and courageous decisions across sectors. Delay in taking key decisions will lead to poor governance.
    • Tool to harass honest officers: Corrupt political leaders and bureaucrats may harass honest officers through baseless complaints and investigations.
    • Impact on reputation of honest officers: Prosecution of honest officers leads to mental agony and heavy financial loss besides being defamed in the society.

    Measures to ensure that honest civil servants are not implicated for bonafide mistakes

    • Ensuring maximum transparency in administration: The key policy making decisions should be made ensuring maximum clarity and openness about how decisions are taken. This will prevent blaming select individuals for incorrect decisions.
    • Legislative actions: As recommended by the Hota Committee report, amendment to Section 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act , 1988, that deals with criminal misconduct by a public servant is a welcome step. It will protect honest civil servants from malicious prosecution and harassment.
    • Reducing politicization of bureaucracy: The fear of transfers, denial of promotions, or being punished post retirement may impact decision making of officers. Ensuring fixed tenure to civil servants is a much needed step for systemic reforms in civil services.
    • Role of institutions:
      • Approach of judiciary: In a democracy and a rapidly growing economy, courts have to make decisions with a very constructive interpretation of laws. It must clarify the distinction between corruption and wrong administrative decisions.
      • IAS Association of India and other civil society groups should support and stand by honest officers undergoing wrongful prosecution.
      • Creating internal oversight mechanisms: Internal enquiries in each department should consider integrity and past career record of officers before recommending for criminal investigation of bonafide decisions.


    • Since every decision taken may not prove to be correct in the long run, it is unjust to prosecute honest officers for genuine mistakes. Young and aspiring civil servants should preserve the key values of honesty, impartiality and fearlessness.
    • Dynamic and honest officials, who are risk-takers for the greater good, must be encouraged, not restrained. No bureaucrat or public official should be fearful for a bona fide decision.
    • Officers must stick to honesty and righteousness and ultimately there is victory of right over wrong. As the national motto suggests – Satyameva Jayate: Truth alone triumphs; not falsehood.
      • For ex: Former coal secretary HC Gupta who is known for his integrity and clean career record was acquitted by the Delhi High Court after CBI failed to prove the charges of criminal misconduct against him in the coal scam.

    Thus, the need of the hour for the civil servants is to follow the code of ethics along with code of conduct.

  • 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.

  • 2019

    9. An apparel manufacturing company having large number of women employees was losing sales due to various factors. The company hired a reputed marketing executive, who increased the volume of sales within a short span of time. However, some unconfirmed reports came up regarding his indulgence in sexual harassment at the work place.

    After sometime, a woman employee lodged a formal complaint to the management against the marketing executive about sexually harassing her. Faced with the company’s indifference in not taking cognizance of her grievance, she lodged an FIR with the Police.

    Realizing the sensitivity and gravity of the situation, the company called the women employee to negotiate. In that she was offered a hefty sum of money to withdraw the complaint and the FIR and also give in writing that the marketing executive is not involved in this case.

    Identify the ethical issues involved in this case what options are available to the women employee?

    Facts of the case

    • lleged sexual harassment at workplace by the marketing executive.
    • Marketing executive important resource for the company as he increased sales in a short period of time.
    • Company management’s indifference in not taking cognizance of the woman’s complaint.
    • Company pressurizing the woman employee to withdraw the case.
    Stakeholders involved Ethical issues
    Woman employee
    • Handling mental agony and societal pressure in pursuing the case.
    • Loss of self respect in negotiating with the company for monetary benefits.
    Marketing executive
    • Saving professional life by negotiating with the woman employee and proving innocence if not guilty.
    Company management
    • Insensitivity towards dignity of a woman.
    • Priority to profit over organizational values by indulging in illegitimate negotiation with the woman employee.
    Other employees
    • To continue working with the marketing executive against moral conscience of other women employees.

    Following options are available to the woman employee:

    • Continue with her case by taking a firm stand against the company management.
      • This would give fair chance to her to prove her viewpoint in a court of law and will give her mental peace that she stood for herself.
      • However, she will have to face mental agony and societal pressure in pursuing the case and may even prove detrimental for her career prospects.
    • Accept the negotiation offer by the company and withdraw the case.
      • This may be beneficial for her career and will save her from rigorous investigation process.
      • However, this would create dissonance and affect mental peace as her conscience would not allow her to accept monetary gains over self respect. Also, she would never be able to stand for herself in the future.
    • Resign from the company and focus on other career opportunities.
      • This will let her avoid the situation and will be beneficial for her career prospects.
      • However, the scars of sexual harassment will remain with her throughout her life and she will regret that she herself is responsible for denial of justice to her.

    Option(1) seems to be the correct way of handling the situation. The women employee can play a leadership role. Her actions will give voice to other genuine concerns of women employees. It is her moral responsibility to come forward and show exemplary behaviour. This will not only bring self satisfaction to her but also increase her confidence and inner strength.

    Also, there is a major fault of company management in giving priority to profit motives by saving the marketing executive and not forming the internal complaints committee as mandated by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Gandhiji considered ‘commerce without morality’ as one of the seven social sins. Thus, it is not only an individual’s fault, but an organization’s which lack values such as respect for the dignity of woman, work-culture ethics, and gender  equality.

  • 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.

  • 2019

    10. In a modem democratic polity, there is the concept of political executive and permanent executive. Elected people’s representatives from the political executive and bureaucracy forms the permanent executive. Ministers frame policy decisions and bureaucrats execute these.

    In the initial decades after independence, relationship between the permanent executive and the political executive were characterized by mutual understanding, respect and co-operation, without encroaching upon each other’s domain.

    However, in the subsequent decades, the situation has changed. There are instances of the political executive insisting upon the permanent executive to follow its agenda. Respect for and appreciation of upright bureaucrats has declined. There is an increasing tendency among the political executive to get involved in routine administrative matters such as transfers, postings etc. Under this scenario, there is a definitive trend towards ‘politicization of bureaucracy’. The rising materialism and acquisitiveness in social life has also adversely impacted upon the ethical values of both the permanent executive and the
    political executive.

    What are the consequences of this ‘politicization of bureaucracy’? Discuss.

    Cooperation between elected representatives and bureaucrats is essential for democratic governance of the country. However, due to ‘politicization of bureaucracy’, there is a deterioration in the functioning of the civil services.

    Values involved in the case

    • Political neutrality and impartiality
    • Integrity and probity
    • Courage of conviction
    • Following the code of conduct
    • Legal responsibility

    Consequences of politicization of bureaucracy

    • Detrimental to moral fibre of bureaucrats: Even honest civil servants with political leanings have compulsion to take biased decisions in favour of one political group.
    • Dilemma in personal v/s professional life: A bureaucrat indulged in material benefits have to compromise with his conscience or inner voice just to be in tune with outside reality, thereby disturbing his mental peace and work ethics. The person loses self respect and trust of his family and children who inculcate such inadequate values from him.
    • Impact on governance system: Lack of impartiality in functioning of civil servants has direct impact on their decisions in day to day administration either in public service delivery or implementing social welfare schemes.
    • Problems in chaotic situations: Difficult circumstances like communal riots demands officers with strict political neutrality. Biased decisions can lead to loss of lives and property. Hence, a civil servant must be accountable for his decisions in such situations.
    • Policy paralysis: Fear of political vendetta against non-cooperative officers in the form of frequent transfers, delay in promotions, etc results in red-tapism and culture of secrecy in their decision making.
    • Negative impact on civil society: Civil servants occupying top positions in the government are role models for young aspiring Indians. Their impartial attitude is detrimental to the societal ethics at large.

    Therefore, a civil servant must be politically neutral. As a civil servant, one has the responsibility towards public and must adhere to constitutional principles keeping his conscience intact. His primary job is to perform Nishkama Karma (selfless and desire less duty). He must be rational, exemplary, and committed to the public

    Materialistic things charms anyone only for short span and in the long run person derive satisfaction by doing his job honestly and making positive contributions in the lives of others. Therefore, civil servants and even politicians should stay away from material gains.

    Also, a civil servant should be ready to serve at any position at any time. Fear of transfer should not refrain a civil servant from his commitment towards public cause and larger interest of society.

  • 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.

  • 2019

    11. In one of the districts of a frontier state, narcotics menace has been rampant. This has resulted in money laundering, mushrooming of poppy farming, arms smuggling and near stalling of education. The system is on the verge of collapse. The situation has been further worsened by unconfirmed reports that local politicians, as well as some senior police officers, are providing surreptitious patronage to the drug mafia. At that point of time a woman police officer, known for her skills in handling such situations is appointed as Superintendent of Police to bring the situation to normalcy.

    If you are the same police officer, identify the various dimensions of the crisis. Based on your understanding, suggest measures to deal with the crisis.

    The situation in the aforementioned district seems daunting, with the social and administrative system inching towards a total collapse. Consequentially, the prevalence of such a scenario must be leading to wastage of human and social capital, rise in crime rates, and endangering the future prospects of the district and its people.

    The district is grappling with myriad problems which have various dimensions of the crisis can be summarised as below-

    • Legal dimension: The activities like money laundering,poppy farming,arms smuggling,emanating from narcotics menace, are legally prohibited under respective laws.
    • Security dimension: Frontier districts in India are susceptible to subversive groups trying to undermine democracy and authority of the State. Arms smuggling and money laundering provides easy means of financing their anti-social activities.
    • Social dimension: A society ridden with such maladies can never focus on education, health, development, empowerment and welfare which are the key aims of a welfare state.
    • Economic dimension: Involvement of people in such activities will lead to the emergence of a black economy eating away at the vitals of a state.
    • Political and administrative dimension: Allegedly, local political leaders and senior police officers are hand in glove with the drug mafia and are providing clandestine support to them- which raises the question of moral and ethical propriety.

    Measures to deal with the crisis

    • Since the problems have permeated through the social, political and administrative structures, my response, as a lady Superintendent of Police should be calculated, precise and swift, with long term implications in mind.
    • Firstly, a thorough investigation must be conducted within the police establishment to identify the black sheep and they should be subjected to lawful punishment.
    • Law enforcement: I would focus on scrupulous and strict implementation of existing laws -taking a cue from inspirational lady SP of Sonitpur district, Sanjukta Parashar, who efficiently curbed insurgency, seized tons of illegal arms and ammunition and arrested dozens involved in illegal arms racket.
    • Taking help from Border Security Forces: Since my district lies in a frontier state; there is a possibility of involvement of transnational elements. For this, the police force must act in tandem with Border security personnel because with rigorous patrolling and search operations local elements can be isolated.
    • Going beyond just law enforcement, I would also discuss the social dimensions of the problem with other administrative officers like District Magistrate- and suggest to involve other benign actors like NGOs, Panchayat heads etc, acting in a concerted way, for engendering education and addressing the issue holistically.
    • Efforts should also be made to wean off regular farmers if involved in poppy cultivation.

    India’s frontier districts need to remain economically prosperous, socially in harmony and free of illegal criminal networks because an afflicted district can have long-term adverse implications on the security, unity and integrity of India.

  • 2019

    12. In recent times, there has been an increasing concern in India to develop effective civil service ethics, code of conduct, transparency measures, ethics and integrity systems and anti-corruption agencies. In view of this, there is a need being felt to focus on three specific areas, which are directly relevant to the problems of internalizing integrity and ethics in the civil services. These are as follows:

    1. Anticipating specific threats to ethical standards and integrity in the civil services,
    2. Strengthening the ethical competence of civil servant and
    3. Developing administrative processes and practices which promote ethical values and integrity in civil services.

    Suggest institutional measures to address the above three issues.

    In recent times, there is an increasing expectation from ordinary citizens, business leaders and Civil Society for higher standards of ethical behaviour and integrity in the Civil Services. To promote this, various methods like Code of Conduct, Citizen Charters, etc have been developed. However, the focus should also be on internalizing professional ethics and integrity in civil services to make it more citizen-friendly.

    Values involved in the case

    • Ethical integrity of civil servants.
    • Probity in governance.
    • Moral aptitude of civil servants.
    • Accountability and responsibility.
    • Transparency and citizen participation.

    Specific focus issues and measures to address them

    • Anticipating specific threats to ethical standards and integrity in the civil services.
      • Red-tapism: Unnecessary administrative complexities to effective service delivery should be identified and removed.
      • Culture of Secrecy: Decisions made by civil servants and public officials should be made as transparent and open as possible. Reasons must be given for official decisions.
      • Inadequate grievance redressal System: Effective mechanisms should be put in place to ensure timely resolution of public complaints and appropriate feedback provided to the public organisations. Grievance redressal processes should be monitored so as to ensure that systems are reviewed and performance is improved.
      • Biasedness and Partisan Attitude: Implementation of conduct rules and code of ethics in order to create a professional and non-partisan civil service hierarchy.
      • Elitism of civil servants: Public orientation in Civil servants is crucial to increase public participation and improve public service delivery. Civil servants should be given proper training to ensure citizen-friendly behaviour.
    • Strengthening the ethical competence of civil servant.
      • Training and performance appraisal: This would incentivise the honest civil servants and make them role models for others to emulate.
      • Reward and honours: It will infuse competition in the civil services to perform better and develop innovative solutions for public service.
      • Promotion of inclusive work culture: Diluting strict hierarchy to increase the cooperation among public officials to increase the effectiveness of services.
      • Social and cultural competence: This would help the civil servant to understand the diverse Indian society and perform as per the high aspirations of the public.
    • Developing administrative processes and practices which promote ethical values and integrity in civil services.
      • Promoting accountability: Effective laws which require civil servants to give reasons for their official decisions. For eg. RTI act.
      • Reducing Corruption: Punitive provision like Prevention of Corruption Act and Whistleblower Protection act, technological Interventions in the form of e-governance to remove discretion, promotion of Social Auditing etc to ensure accountability of the administrative work.
      • Human Resource management strategies: Performance-based pay, Lateral Entry, Multi-Phase training will increase the efficiency and quality of public service delivery.
      • Internal and External Committees: To ensure redressal of complaints and grievances of civil servants and public. This improves the work culture and aligns the behaviour of public servants to the desired civil services values.
      • Code of Conduct Rules: It ensures appropriate behaviour from public servants that should be unbiased and non-partisan.

    Promotion of ethical behaviour and integrity in civil servants, and revamping the public administration is critical to ensure that the policies of social welfare are implemented in true spirit. It would improve the responsiveness of public servants towards the common citizenry. Also, public trust would increase in the government setup. Greater social capital can in turn help in the promotion of ethical governance.

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