Mr. Biswas is a civil servant in the PMO office. Lately there has been a lot of activity happening around the present education policy and the right to education. Mr. Biswas gets an invitation from a news channel to a debate on the issue. The news channel assures that it will be a non political intellectual debate. The other invitees will be from other prominent field of education. Being a Civil Servant what should Mr. Biswas do? Whether he should express himself on a public platform or not? Suggest Mr. Biswas a suitable action in this regard. (150 W/ 10 M)

Mentor’s Comment:

Case studies examine your attitude towards solving any issues. It depicts the comprehending skills of an individual towards solving a problem.

In the above case, Civil Servants acts as an eye to the government policy and are in certain cases debarred from taking part in public debate in order to avoid government trust of public. Neutrality is the part of Civil Servant’s career.

Explain what are the responsibilities Mr. Biswas shoulders upon him while being in PMO and accordingly what action or steps he must take. Write down the options available with him and analyze each of them in holistic manner keeping in mind all stakeholders, government, public and Mr. Biswas himself.

 

Model Answer:

  • Civil servants are an important part of policy making of the government. They are expected to maintain political neutrality when it comes to expressing their opinions in public or on public platforms. They are debarred from various public exercises in order to maintain neutrality in certain circumstances.
  • Public servants should remain non-political, non-influential, and unbiased in all circumstances showing their neutrality. The ethical principles involved in the above case are sensitivity of the issue which might turn into a political debate, neutrality and bureaucratic responsibility.

Following are the various options with Mr. Biswas to consider upon:

  • Turning down the invitation: The civil servants are allowed to participate in all actions within the framework of civil services conduct rules. By turning down the invitation he will save himself from engaging in a debate which might turn political.
  • However, it will be against his right to freedom of expression. Being a civil servant doesn’t mean that he is not allowed to express his opinion on any matter. It is his basic right to freedom of thought and speech.
  • Accepting the invitation and voice his thought: This will allow him to speak about his opinion on the subject with other prominent experts on the subject.
  • The only demerit lies in the point is that it will be against the basic principles of civil services if the debate turns into a political debate and he speaks something which code of conduct for civil servants does not allow him to.
  • Therefore, he needs to ensure that he maintains political neutrality during the whole show and doesn’t speak anything which is critical of the government.
  • Taking advice from seniors: This will help him to get advice from his senior who might have faced similar situation during their tenure. However, it is possible that they may not be able to advise him on the matter by giving judgement that he should do what he feels is right.
  • In order to drive it and uplift the socio-economic status of the citizens, cooperation and careful coordination between the political executive and bureaucrat is a sine qua non. For this to happen, civil service neutrality is a must. Neutrality is also one of the foundational values of civil services.
  • In this case Mr. Biswas should assess about everything as civil servants are responsible for public interest in maintaining the law and ensuring that proper procedures are followed. Mr. Biswas must not be entangled in any political mudslinging or create any political division opinion.
  • He should refrain from making political comments or saying something which criticizes the government in any way. In case if he decides to join, he should maintain utmost neutrality otherwise should turn down the invitation if he is skeptical of the nature of debate.