Absolute power corrupts absolutely – UPSC Ethics

  • Disproportionate and excessive use of lethal force against protesters outside the Sterlite Copper Plant.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And lack of absolute power corrupts absolutely as well.” With suitable examples, critically comment on the statement. (150 Words)
We humans are power hungry by our own nature. So rulers, bureaucrats and lower functionaries in government demand for more power due to this nature. While greater power enables quick decision making and efficiency, there are dangers as well.
Corruption, nepotism are by-products of too much concentration of powers in one hand. However complete decentralisation or devolution of authority or collective decision making is not always panacea. To bring accountability some person has to be made accountable hence comes the concept of delegation of power with some authority that shall be accountable for his deeds. For example in police administration of a city while Superintendent of Police is head of police department however he is expected to be accountable to district magistrate for his deeds. Like if a law and order problem arises so with the advice and concurrence of DM he should use his power to use police force. If such an arrangement had not been made the SP would have been freed to rule at his will.  So a delicate balance should exist between delegation of power and accountability for smooth functioning of system.
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