There is generally a difference between two groups of civil servants- one group always think in terms of public interest and tries to devise programmes and policies that best serve the public interest while there is another group, which in the name of public interest devises programmes and policies which run political campaigns of the government in power. The Home Minister has called a special meeting of the civil servants to listen to their problems in serving public interest and find ways for improvement. Suppose you are in the first group, whose sole concern is public interest and you are attending the meeting. Answer the following questions based on the above case: (a) Would you make a point that, it is an intolerable abuse of power to serve the political campaign of the ruling party in the name of serving public or national interest? Why? (b) Do you agree that civil servants should follow the commands of the ruling class, which has a compulsion to fulfill commitments expressed in their manifesto based on which they have won electoral mandates? (c) How a civil servant can maintain political neutrality, which is one of the most important attributes of a good officer? Discuss with respect to the above case where one group of civil servants is fitted against you and they have their own opinion and reason for such stand. (d) If your Home Minister is willing to be with the other side, then how will you present your case to the Home Minister?

a.) Would you make a point that, it is an intolerable abuse of power to serve the political campaign of the rulingparty in the name of serving public or national interest? Why?

  • Yes, I would try to make this point.
  • The civil servants are public servants and not political agents. All the powers and privileges bestowed on them are not rewards for any hierarchical or feudal position ascribed to them but it is because of their duty to serve the public interest.
  • There may be the possibility of synchronization between public interest and political campaign of the ruling dispensation, but doing it overtly is not only ugly, but also sets a bad precedent among other civil servants who also try to side with the political campaigns of political parties which suites them.
  • It compromises the political neutrality of the civil servants as well.

(b) Do you agree that civil servants should follow the commands of the ruling class, which has a compulsion to fulfill commitments expressed in their manifesto based on which they have won electoral mandates?

  • Ideally they should follow the orders and commands of their political bosses. Any disagreement between the political and ruling class would hamper the public interest.
  • They should go hand in hand to meet the aspirations of the people and fulfill their duties and commitments toward them.
  • Ruling dispensation has a moral obligation to fulfill their commitments and promises to public. They rely for this on the civil servants. So there must be a bond of trust between them.
  • However problems arises when the ruling elite in the government starts taking the civil servants for granted and start misusing them to cajole their own people and serve their own political interest rather than the public interest.
  • In such a case the civil servant should give precedent and priority to the public interest and be guided by the blue book and the charter of their duties rather than political dictates.

(c) How a civil servant can maintain political neutrality, which is one of the most important attribute of a good officer? Discuss with respect to the above case where one group of civil servants is fitted against you and they have their own opinion and reason for such stand.

  • A civil servant should follow his charter of duties, blue book, constitutional obligation and conscience and try to implement the policies of the government of the day to maintain the political neutrality.
  • However, compliance of the duty demands more than merely compliance of law.
  • Governments and political parties come and go but the civil servants remain in their position for a long time. Seeking political umbrella for using power and privileges for maximizing own interest should be avoided at any cost.
  • Public interest should always come first and good causes should be pursued with courage and conviction. The stand taken by the civil servants must be backed by sound principles and rationale rather than personal gain or fear from the political class.

(d) If your Home Minister is willing to be with the other side, then how will you present your case to the Home Minister?

  • As suggested above the points should be highlighted in all humility but firmness.
  • A polite and humble but firm and resolute attitude should be the approach.
  • Making a point with grace, respect, and concern for the minister, government and public always helps. Working for the long them interests is always better than to serve the short term political interest which may be called public interest.
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