Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

Ethics Case Study:
You are serving as Superintendent of Police of a district. You were incharge of conducting violence-free general elections in your jurisdiction and also you were responsible to stop distribution of illegal money, liquor and other freebies during campaigning by the candidates. During one night two police personnel at checkpost seize rupees one crore unaccounted money from a car. The money was meant to be distributed among voters to lure them to vote to a particular party. One of the policemen pockets rupees ten lakhs as he badly needed that money to pay for the treatment of his wife who was battling a life and death situation due to cancer. The other policeman knowing this truth supports his friend, but he too pockets rupees ten lakhs. They let the driver escape from the scene warning him not to show up in the district. Later they send their money to their homes and the report at the station that they have seized rupees eighty lakhs from an unknown vehicle whose driver ran away abandoning the vehicle.

After the elections, the driver turns up with an influential local politician who has just won the election and narrates the incidence to you and registers a complaint against the two policemen.

a) What will you do in this situation? Justify. (150 Words)
b) The police man who took money to pay for the treatment of his wife requests you to not to take any action against him. You know that what he is saying is true. Will you treat him leniently? Justify. (100 Words)

Answer: 1. Analyzing the case step by step, the unaccounted money of a whopping Rs 1 Crore being carried by the driver in his car during the time of election ,so it is wise to assume that money might be meant to use it to get undue favour from voters by luring them with cash,liqours and other freebies which is a seriuos crime and violation of the model code of conduct set the Election Commission of the India. Now, the money was seized by the two policemen at the check post ,each one whom pocketed Rs 10 Lakhs for personnel uses ,thus committing a serious crime of indulging in on-duty corruption and then they let the driver go away,thus failing in performing their duty of arresting him at the scene.In such situation, if i am the serving SP of that district, i would take following actions:-

1. First, register a case against the drivers and his politician master on charges of violation of model code of conduct by using money to lure votes and possession of unaccounted money . 
2. Sending the report of the incident to the District Magistrate who was the Returning Officer and top most election officer in the district at the time of election and recommend him to set up an inquiry into the matter and bring it to the notice of the Election Commission. 
3. registering case against the two officers for indulging in on-duty corruption , dereliction of duty and violations of the rules and terms of their service and then proceed for conducting inquiry into the matter.

b) Either of the two policemen ,regardless of their reasons and compulsions for stealing the seized money ,must not be treated with any leniency for indulging in corruptions and breaching the rules of their service.There must be a clear cut separation between one's personal issue and one's occupation .If the wife of the policeman concerned was ill and he needed money for her treatment of cancer ,he could have explored other options like health insurance cover, loans ,health benefits offered by his service as per the government set up rules,his past savings.He could just have narrated his problem to his senior officers who could have done something for him.

Answer:2. The stakeholders involved in the case above are 2 policemen, wife in hospital, general public, subordinate staff of police, political party. The policeman 1 prioritised his personal interest over public interest by taking money for his wife. Policeman 2 blatantly took bribe.

As an SP, his responsibility is to maintain law and order in the city, fulfil his duties like conducting free and fair elections in this case.

1) SP should conduct an unbiased inquiry against both the policemen and proceed according to the law.

a. As an SP, it is his duty to guard law and order of the city. He must punish anyone who violates law of the land, whatever be the circumstances.

b. If he does not punish the guilty today, it might encourage further unethical and illegal practices among the subordinates. It is already evident by the behaviour of 2nd policeman. This would lead to breach of trust that public places in the police force. Breach of trust can lead to chaos.

2) In this case, the policeman's wife might still be battling from cancer or may be healthy now. If she still is battling from the cancer, then punishing the policeman harshly might bring more troubles in his family.

But, impunity would mean derilection of SP's duty. It would further mean breach of trust of district in him. He is accountable to the people and circumstances do not convert wrongdoings into right. 
Further, if he treats him leniently, he violates Right to Equality of others (equal treatment under law).

There are lot of people who do not have resources for their basic necessities. It does not mean that they violate laws (like murder, kidnap, loot a bank or in this case let a criminal go) to gain access to resources. If this happens, the country will go into chaos.

Therefore, he must treat him with complete disregard of the circumstances. Though he can offer the help to family by government scheme, or giving loan or through any other ethical means he deems fit.

Do you think emotional intelligence (EI) is must for public servants, especially politicians?  Substantiate and also based on your personal experiences critically comment if public servants in India have adequate levels of EI. (200 Words)
Emotional intelligence refers to ability of an individual to perceive and understand emotions, of others' as well as his own, and utilize them constructively in the thought process by effectively managing them.

Politicians being popularly elected usually carry huge mandate and public support to fulfill their promises. In view of tremendous expectations from them, emotional intelligence helps them manage the situation by assuring of benefits to all without any prejudices. Especially after disasters when citizens may usually complain of lack of empathy on administration's part, politicians have to coordinate better with administration to allay people's fears and redress their grievances at the earliest.

Generally, public servants in India have shown lack of sympathy due to intense pressure they work under and absence of any formal training. Apart from politician pressing them for his partisan interest, occasionally he faces ire of the public as well.

Once I went to a police station for registering complaint for my lost phone. After registering the report, on my enquiring that when could I come for checking the progress in the case, the policeman angrily retorted and in a humiliating tone asked me to get a new phone instead. His assistants were all giggling, unmindful of an aggrieved client they are mandated to serve.

However, not all public servants can be painted with same brush. Benevolence and activism of some District Collectors in tribal states and honest politicians living a frugal lifestyle are well-documented. Suitable methods like sensitivity training should be made part of employee training in govt sector so that administration gains public faith and better serves its mandated goals.

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