Ethics Case Study: Superintendent of Police (SP) in Communally Sensitive Area

Case

You are working as Superintendent of Police (SP) in a district that is communally sensitive. It’s also the home district of chief minister (CM) of the state, whose daughter you are married to. There have been incidents such as killing of labourers involved in transport of cows; killing of muslim boys alleging their involvement in ‘love jihad’; killing of a local journalist who was very vocal about communal politics etc. In addition, one of the members of parliament representing the district, is fond of giving hate speeches to incite mobs to indulge in violence. You are aware that certain local leaders have an agenda to polarise population in the district in the name of religion. As elections are nearing, communal polarisation is happening fast. The state CM belongs to a political party that has communal agenda. This time there is a chance of CM losing out in the election. It’s do or die situation for him on which his political career rests on. He wants you to be soft on communal elements so that he can capitalise on fear to garner votes. However, you come from a background where you were taught secular and inclusive views from the childhood itself. You are a person who believes that peaceful society is prerequisite to achieve development. However, due to certain circumstances, you had to marry a daughter of a politician who professes politics of hate. Your marriage life is going very well. You are in a situation where your father in law believes that you can save his political career by being soft on his type of politics, on the other hand you can not risk the consequences of not heeding to his plea.

Answer/Analysis

  1. In this situation, what short-term and long-term consequences do you foresee in case you choose to follow chief minister’s directive? Examine.
  2. Evaluate merits and demerits of various options that you can explore to address ethical issues that you are posed with in this situation.  (300 Words)

General

The given situation is one of the most mundane, though critical situation often faced by a public servant. Here there is a pressure from CM who also happen to be his father in law to abonden his duty and thus also brings his personal-professional life in conflict. This is a case of dereliction of duty on CM part as Constitution mandates secular ethos.

This is a test of his integrity, impartiality and ability to face pressure, coupled b y the fact that there is a risk of affecting the constituency grievously.

Consequences of following CM’s directives

Short Term

  • The atmosphere in the society will be communally polarised even to the extent of killings of innocent.
  • In the midst of communal polarisation, the CM might win the elections at the cost of political values.
  • The constitutional values enshrined under Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 will be violated, alongwith the plural spirit of Indian culture.
  • People in general and particularly minority community will lose confidence in the state appratus and thus may resort to extra-constitutional and extra-legal measures including terrorism.
  • The professional compromise done will leave an impact on my integrity as well, which will have serious consequence in respect of my commitment to the people as a public servant.

Long Term

  • The socio-political discourse will be irreparably damaged in the current of communal polarisation.
  • Consequent of polarisation, the real civic issues of public will be relegated.
  • There will always be communal tension, which will be a dent on the resources of Police Department significantly owing to the constant vigil required.

Alternative Courses of Action

  1. Being a relative of the CM, there is an option to keep aside from the duty citing ‘conflict of interest’ or following the orders.

Merits

  • The cordial family atmosphere can be preserved.
  • There will be ease in the professional life as per the whims.

Demerits

  • Abrogating the responsibility is against the ethics and code of a public servant when he has due authority in his hands.
  • In a critical situation, the general public looks towards the efficient public servants to protect their lives and property. Such breach of trust is sin for a public servant.
  1. Refusing to accept such orders and negotiate through my wife with the father in law who is CM.

Merits

  • The primary aim of saving the lives will be served for the time being.
  • It will reflect a harmonious balance between personal and professional duty.

Demerits

  • The deep rooted problem of communalism will not be sorted out which will need different interventions against this ad hoc approach.

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