Leakage of information – UPSC Ethics

Recently, we have witnessed the trend of secret information leaks by anonymous persons with in the government to expose malpractices. Debate whether this act done with good intentions be considered as ethical. (150 Words)

Professionally, an officer is required not to pass government information among public or media under the conduct rules. He is accountable to senior officers and ultimate responsibility lies with publicly chosen ministers. He is required to work anonymously for government.
However an honest officer find themselves in dilemma when seniors and ministers are themselves involved in the irresponsible act.
In that case, they leak information anonymously to serve the larger public interest and save themselves from the grudges of minister and seniors who control transfer, suspension, promotion and even from the vested interest groups. Example of satyendra dube is enlightening in this case.
However, leaking information should not become general routine because it  promotes the climate of suspicion and anarchy in an organization. Moreover, it is liable to be misused to take revenge or to make personal gain from the leakage. Further, an official might not have the complete information and full intention of the issue.
Therefore, leaking of information should be used rarely when all avenues of help are closed and at the same time, institutional support like CVC strengthening and whistle-blower act will go long way in prospering the climate of responsible leakage.
Dilemma involved in the issue is:
(1). Whether to abide by the “Code of Conduct” of the post that he holds
(2). Whether to give priority to “Public Interest”, which will be hampered if he does not disclose information
His actions will serve public interest if
(1). His information is CORRECT,  and
(2). His information is COMPLETE, and
(3). His disclosure is IN TIME
But, in any other case, he will end up breaching both the values. It is very difficult for him to ensure that his information is correct and complete as his views may be biased.
So, it is prudent on his part to follow official channels of whistleblowing. Such actions may lead to anarchy and  can be used to malign others in organisation for personal/political gains. They should be avoided.
However, it also shows that, formal channels of disclosures like CVO, CVC, Judiciary etc. are dysfunctional and we need to clean them up to uphold public interest.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top