In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. How does this statement apply to a civil servant?

Civil Services Main Examination

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


Question: In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. How does this statement apply to a civil servant?

Answer: Conscience is the act of the mind that comes into being when the intellect passes judgement on the morality of a particular action. It is an inherently personal act, guided by an individual’s determination of right and wrong. Laws, on the other hand, reflect the collective conscience of a nation. As such, they apply uniformly to all who fall within their jurisdiction. Thus, it is the duty of every civil servant to uphold and abide by the existing laws. However, laws by their very nature are not perfect- they are open to amendments and repeal. This indicates that just because an action is legal, it is not necessarily moral. e.g. In Nazi Germany, many laws that were legally binding were also inhuman and barbaric.

Thus, while a civil servant is duty-bound to not violate an existing law, it is important to also realise that he is a vital instrument in shaping the laws that govern us. Therefore, if a law is rendered inconsistent by temporal or societal changes, it is imperative for a civil servant to employ his conscience in determining how the law deserves to be addressed e.g. Sec 66 A of the IT Act.