The principal ethical issues: Carefully study the cases and Bring out and discuss the ethical issues involved.

Civil Services Main Examination

General Studies (Paper - 4) : Model Question & Answers


Question: In the following questions, carefully study the cases presented and then answer the questions that follow:

A friend of yours, who is a Police officer, has been killed in a landmine blast masterminded by the Maoists. The 10 year old son of the martyred officer is enraged by the killing of his father and states that after growing up he too would become a Police officer like his father and thereby he would take his revenge by killing the Maoists.

Answer: (i) Bring out and discuss the ethical issues involved in the above case.

The principal ethical issues are as follows:
(1) Duty of the State (Raj Dharma)
(2) Duty of a police officer
(3) Right of the natives
(4) Right and duty of a son

The given case reminds us that despite seven decades of self rule (swaraj), we have not been able to uphold Constitutional ideals and values. We have not been able to create a Welfare state. Basic amenities of human life are not accessible across the sections of society. We have not been able to meet aspirations of natives. We need to examine the functioning of means that we have employed to realize our Constitutional ends. A Police officer has a moral and legal obligation to uphold Constitutional provisions and rule of law. One must recognize the overriding character of one’s duty towards the State. That is, one’s self-interest and obligations towards family is subservient to one’s Sva- harma as a Police-officer. Every native of a State has a basic fundamental right, right to life and State has a corresponding moral and legal duty to respect such a right.

Thus, State must ensure that such a basic right of natives shall not be violated. In the given case it is the legal and moral right of the son to seek justice for the loss of his father. At the same time, it is also his duty to respect law of the land and seek justice within the framework of the law.

(ii) How would you try to console the young boy? How would you respond to the statement made by the boy?

I would try to console the young boy by sharing some cardinal principles of life. Death is an integral component of human life, it is imminent and thus we ought to internalize this truth. Such internalization can give us inner strength and courage to deal with such extreme situations of life. I would advise him to remain ‘stoical’ to his loss. I would emphasize that he should feel proud of his father, since he could serve his motherland and became a martyr in the process. I believe such martyrs become immortal since their character, courage and commitment inspire every native to lead a life of authentic existence. Individuals come and go, but cardinal ideals of life shall never be subverted and undermined since life of self respect and dignity can never be composed without them.

In response to the statement of the boy, I would recollect the significance of ahimsa and emphasize that violence breeds violence, anger and hatred can aggravate the pain and suffering of human life further. As Socrates says, “injustice shall not be answered with injustice”, that is, let everyone be wrong and unjust but one should never do what one thinks is wrong. Being evil is compared to being ignorant, as Christ has stated, while he is being crucified, “Oh my Lord! Please forgive them as they do not know what they are doing”. The path of Love, Compassion and Ahimsa can be arduous but this is the only panacea which has the potential to solve every problem from the very root. Moreover, I would like to make him understand the significance of institutions in a State and that it is important to regard them as sacrosanct and paramount. Rule of law and Principles of Natural justice must be respected and letter and spirit.

(iii) How do you see the problem of Maoism? Is it a moral or legal problem? Justify your answer.

I see the problem of Maoism primarily as a moral problem and secondarily as a legal problem. Such problems cannot be resolved completely through legal framework. The root of the problem lies in social, economic and political disadvantages and injustice. But disgruntled and misguided natives have opted for a path of violence, which is undemocratic, immoral and illegal. Keeping in mind the root cause of the problem, we ought to create a framework whereby empowerment of the weaker and marginalized people can be realized, a proper rehabilitation programme can be implemented and at the same time legal deterrence can be created through proper implementation of law.


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