Demolition – UPSC Ethics Case Study

An IAS officer visits to see demolition of an illegal temple that was built on a public road. He had ordered that demolition in the public interest after receiving a complaint and thoroughly verifying facts.

He is accompanied by handful of police personnel. While the demolition is going on, a mob tries to disrupt it. They try to burn IAS officer’s vehicle. When the police try to escort IAS officer to safety, the mob pelts stones at them.
At this moment someone suggests IAS officer to order police to fire shots at the stone-pelting mob. IAS officer’s safety is at risk.
If you were the IAS officer, how you would have conducted yourself?  Substantiate. (150 Words)
Demolition work should be completed as early as possible without inviting unwanted attention from the people, politicians & media and also ensuring that law and order doesn’t go out of hands. As it is a religious issue, there is a higher scope for manipulating the whole event in an ugly manner.
First of all, I will speak with SP and other officers present at that place and ask them what all options are available with us to deal with the issue.
Secondly, we will analyse whether the demolition is possible with use of minimal police involvement for controlling the law and order.
Thirdly, fire shots is out of question as these protesters also include innocent people who are blind folded by the people who guided them.
Fourthly, I will ask SP to deploy more police personnel and control the situation
Fifthly, if the situation becomes even more worse, I will ask the authorities to stop the demolition work temporarily.
Sixth, I will conduct a meeting with the important people and look for alternatives like demolition early in morning or midnight or speaking to the stakeholders for relocation of the temple etc.
In Bangalore, as per Supreme Court directive, a demolition drive is going on to clear ‘illegal’ buildings that are built upon lake beds. Bangalore Development Authority, a government agency has itself built layouts on lake beds and allotted sites to beneficiaries as per its rules. Its mistake is that it didn’t take permission from the revenue department before creating layouts. Now, these layouts have developed into fully residential areas and residents who have been residing there for decades face uncertain future – if government doesn’t intervene their homes will be flattened and they (both rich and poor) will be made homeless.
(a) In your opinion, should the demolition of these residential areas continue? Substantiate on ethical grounds. (150 Words)
(b) What should government do in this situation? Justify. (150 Words)
(a.) Anything done unlawful or illegally should be dealt strictly as per the penalty mentioned in Book or its interpretation. Here as the Bangalore Development Authority itself has ignored taking permission from Revenue department before creating layout shows not following of protocol present.
Securing the lake bed is important for both environment, water enrichment of region and aesthetic purpose. Hence, illegal constructions need to be demolished irrespective of built by private constructor or govt authority.
But one thing should be take care, that if the Residents were aware of illegal construction at the time of purchase, then no emolument or resettlement should be provided, but if they were not aware of such illegal land and requirement of permission than, BDA must do arrangement of rehabilitation for all resident. This is similar to Campa Cola case where SC ordered demolition of all illegal floors, because buyers knew at the time of purchase that what they are buying is under litigation.
(b.) Govt must look into the case with wider scope of Consumer rights and protection for all Residents, as they are the only one who will suffer major loss of land and property.
Govt must make assessment study through judiciary panel that, were the buyers aware of such illegality and not following of protocol by BDA at the time of purchase.
Based on that, the verdict can be shifted toward BDA or Residents. Also, one must know that, Rule of Law is same for all. Hence, if some Govt quarters will be allowed in the region then, it’s unfair toward private builders.



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