Political Interference – UPSC Ethics Case Study

You are working as Superintendent of Police. Recently you arrested few criminals involved in a rape case. They happen to be distant relatives of Chief Minister of the state where you are serving. You get a call from the Chief Minister himself asking you to drop cases against all criminals immediately. You politely reject CM’s diktat. Next day, again you receive a call from CM. This time he threatens you with dire consequences if you do not follow his orders. As per your wife’s suggestion, you have recorded this conversation. Your wife, who is a social activist, releases the tape to media. Next day an FIR is lodged against you and your wife: accusing you of committing a rape; and against your wife on the charges of receiving illegal foreign funds to an NGO run by you both.

Your friends who are also bureaucrats, ask you to meet CM and beg for his forgiveness. They suggest you to release all goons citing lack of evidence against them.
a) Will you listen to your friends suggestions and act accordingly? Justify. (150 Words)
b) Critically comment on the ethical issues involved in this case study. (150 Words)
Though the suggestions made by my friends are to save me from this crisis but it wouldn’t be apt on my part to ask for forgiveness and neglect my duties by releasing the goons. Meeting the CM would also affect my professional career as hitherto I enjoyed the position of being an honest officer which may be maligned by some people.
First thing, false cases have been registered against us and these cases require strong evidences to be proved. As there wouldn’t be any evidences as we aren’t party to these crimes it would be highly difficult for proving them.
Certain ethical issues were clear from the above paragraph, these are dealt below:
  1. The goons attempted to escape from the situation by taking support of a politician and law maker. This reflects the societal value attached to the process of justice delivery, where the whole process can be influenced by favours or coercion.
  2. CM’s phone call to the SP for releasing the goons shows the interference and influence exerted by the political executive on other organs of executive for making things in their favor. This is clearly deterred in a democratic setup like India, else every decision indulges conflict of interest.
  3. Registering false cases against SP and his wife amounts to a type of coercion, this way honest public officials who are not corrupt will be made to stay low. When a person like SP is prone to such attacks, then the situation of common people who fight against the corruption and misuse of law could be understood.
  4. Bureaucratic friends had suggested to meet the CM and ask forgiveness and release criminals, this reflects the general functioning of a bureaucratic and political nexus, by making those suggestions rather than standing by the side of SP, these people failed to deliver the duties which they had vowed to fulfill despite of all the difficulties.
Finally, SP is surrounded with a dilemma whether to fight against the CM without fully understanding the consequences or to make a truce with him there by saving himself and his wife from this crisis.
You are working as Sub Inspector and the place where you work is also the constituency of powerful politician who is now a very influential minister in the state government. Recently a woman social activist was tied to tree and was badly beaten and molested by few political activists belonging to the ruling party. After registering the case and preliminary investigation you come to know that the men who molested were staunch followers of the minister. The minister
frequently calls you and pressurises you to either go slow with investigation or close the case citing lack of evidence. In your investigation you have found strong evidence to give justice to the woman and punish minister’s followers. However, the minister has threatened to transfer you to a distant place if you do not heed to his requests. Despite threats and pressures you continue with your investigation and file a strong case against the perpetrators. Later you come to know that the minister had used his influence and bribed the judges to get bail to his followers.
a) How do you deal with political pressure when performing your  duty? (100 Words) 
b) In the above case, your wife advises you to record your conversations with the minister in your cell phone and make them public via media. Will you do so? Justify. (150 Words)
c) Some of your friends suggest you to get transfer and move to new place so that you are saved from the wrath of the minister whose requests you neglected. (100 Words)
(a): Holding a position of SI, my responsibility is not only to ensure law abiding by public but to check my actions too. Political Pressure is with intent to bend my moral toward their favour. As I already have strong evidence to prove their crime, so there is no reason to feel threatened because justice will come to me eventually. As there is news about bribing judges to furnish bail, but still justice will come toward my finding. Hence there is little reason to get threatened when I am in right path toward my duty and I will continue with my investigation. How I will deal:
  1. I will let my seniors know about the ground scenarios, my findings, evidences. So, that they will have clear idea and even If I will be transferred my finding will be channelized to new SI.
  2. I will take support of my sub-ordinates to involve them also in investigation. So, that it will present as department work and not myself alone as political party Vendetta.
Answer(b): As Shri Krishna told in Bhagvat Gita that, to win a war every tactics is ethical. Here, my investigation is also war against crime, so recording telephonic conversation is completely ethical as it is part of investigation and will lead to justice of woman social activist and punishing perpetrator which will clean the democracy and politics. But making it public by using media is unethical as investigation is not completed. It will lead to media trial and more offensiveness from political party which will hinder further investigation.
Recording the conversation sounds unethical as it is collecting information without others consent and knowing but that is the way we collect evidences for crime. It will be beneficial for present and future situation. It will not only record the evidence and also any threat politician pose on me will have record.
Answer(c): Granting transfer is not in my hand, it has to come from super-ordinates. In this case, asking for transfer will set bad precedents in from of my super and sub ordinates. Also it is  unethical to stop my investigation in middle and voluntarily evading from it. It will not only make value of my investigation zero, but also devoid the social activist of justice which is very near as I have strong evidences against perpetrators. Hence taking transfer is not a good idea to be chosen.



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