Ethics, Integrity and
Aptitude 2013: Paper Analysis and Solution Section B (Part 1 of 3)
In the Following Questions, carefully
study the cases presented and then answer the questions that follow:
Question 9 - A Public Information Officer has
received an application under RTI Act. Having gathered the information, the
PIO discovers that the information pertains to some of the decisions taken
by him, which were found to be not altogether right. There were other
employees also who were party to these decisions. Disclosure of the
information is likely to lead to disciplinary action with possibility of
punishment against him as well as some of his colleagues. Non-disclosure or
part disclosure or camouflaged disclosure of information will result into
lesser punishment or no punishment.
The PIO is otherwise an honest and
conscientious person but his particular decision, on which the RTI
application has been filed, turned out to be wrong. He comes to you for
The following are some suggested
options. Please evaluate the merits and demerits of each of the option:
- The PIO could refer the matter to
his superior officer and seek his advice and act strictly in accordance with
the advice, even though he is not completely in agreement with the advice of
- PIO could proceed on leave and leave
the matter to be dealt by his successor in office or request for transfer of
the application to another PIO.
The PIO could weigh
the consequences of disclosing the information truthfully including the
effect on his career, and reply in a manner that would not place him or his
career in jeopardy, but at the same time a little compromise can be made on
the contents of the information.
- The PIO could consult his other
colleagues who are party to the decision and take action as per their
Also, please indicate (without
necessarily restricting to the above options) what you would like to advise,
giving proper reason. (250 words) 20 marks.
The question can be a little complex. On
the one hand, the person has committed some mistake for which he might face
trouble; but, on the other hand, the person is honest and conscientious. Thus,
taking a very strict action might not be practical as mistakes can happen by
anyone. At the same time, it would be inappropriate to manipulate the
information. Thus, you need to tackle the question tactfully.
Option (i) might be resorted to, but there
is a possibility that the superior might advice some unethical path, which would
be unethical on the part of the PIO. Thus, it would be inappropriate to follow
the advise the superior by word. PIO might take his advise but should judge the
value of the same and act by his wit.
Option (ii) might as well be followed, as
the PIO has a vested interest in the matter, and the constitution provides for
the declaration of such vested interests, and transfer of the case, to ensure
impartiality and effectiveness of justice. Thus, the PIO might declare his
vested interest in the matter and ask for the transfer of the case of another
Option (iii) would be unethical on the part
of the PIO. As a public functionary, his duty is to communicate the facts
objectively. By manipulating the facts, in order to save himself, the PIO would
commit an unethical and unprofessional act.
Option (iv) is contentious, as the
colleagues might advice him to take an unethical path. Since the PIO is an
honest and conscientious person, he shall rely on his principles to take an
Thus, it would be advisable for the PIO to declare his involvement in the matter
to his superiors in written, and follow the appropriate directions.
Question 10- You are working as an Executive
Engineer in the construction cell of a Municipal Corporation and are
presently in-charge of the construction of a flyover. There are two Junior
Engineers under you who have the responsibility of day-to-day inspection of
the site and are reporting to you, while you are finally reporting to the
Chief Engineer who heads the cell. While the construction is heading towards
completion, the Junior Engineer have been regularly reporting that all
construction is taking place as per design specifications. However, in one
of your surprise inspections, you have noticed some serious deviations and
lacunar which, in your opinion, are likely to affect the safety of the
flyover. Rectification of these lacunae at this stage would require a
substantial amount of demolition and rework which will cause a tangible loss
to the contractor and will also delay completion. There is a lot of public
pressure on the Corporation to get this construction completed because of
heavy traffic congestion in the area. When you brought this matter to the
notice of the Chief Engineer, he advised you that in his opinion it is not a
very serious lapse and may be ignored. He advised for further expediting the
project for completion in time. However, you are convinced that this was a
serious matter which might affect public safety and should not be left
What will you do in
such a situation? Some of the options are given below. Evaluate the merits
and demerits of each of these options and finally suggest what course of
action you would like to take, giving reasons. (250 words) 20 Marks
Follow the advice of the Chief
Engineer and go ahead.
- Make an exhaustive report of the
situation bringing out all facts and analysis along with your own
viewpoints stated clearly and seek for written orders from the Chief
- Call for explanation from the
Junior Engineer and issue orders to the contractor for necessary
correction within targeted time.
- Highlight the issue so that it
reaches the superiors above the Chief Engineer.
- Considering the rigid attitude of
the Chief Engineer, seek transfer from the project or report.
This is a very important
issue, that often comes before the government employees. Here, the important
issues involved are: whether to abide by the deadlines for the projects, or
whether to protect the public interest, and prevent any possibility of an
Option (I) would be
unethical to follow. Although it is in compliance with the norms of the
organizational structure, but it violates the ethical principles. Since the
project has been observed for severe lapses in quality, it is unwise to carry
forward with it.
Option (ii) might be
appropriate from a formal perspective, as it would make sure that the Chief
Engineer has noticed the lacunae in the project, and still is ordering to carry
on with it. This would save the concerned Executive Engineer from any
implications. However, from an ethical point of view, it is highly unwise to
carry on with the project.
Option (iii) is a plausible
option, as the Junior Engineers, directing in-charge of the project should be
called for explanation for the lapses in the project. Also, all possible moves
shall be made to make sure that the project is completed in a stipulated
timeframe. The contractor should also be dealt with strictly, and held
answerable for the shortcomings in the quality standards.
Option (iv) might be
resorted in case the Chief Engineer is adamant about going on with the project.
Since there would be no option left, if the Chief Engineer is adamant about his
decision, the Executive Engineer would have to approach the superiors with a
Option (v) would be an attempt to escape
from the problem, while ignoring one's moral responsibility. Thus, it would be
unethical on the part of the Executive Engineer to run away from his duty.
An ethical, and required
course of action would be to halt the project immediately, and make the
preparations for the re-work. Since the matter involves public safety, it cannot
be left to chances. Any outburst from the public shall be dealt appropriate.
Also, those responsible for the lapses in the project shall be dealt strictly.
The Next article of the ETHICS SERIES would discuss more questions of the
Section B of the Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude Paper 2013.
In the Meanwhile, please feel free to
contact us for any confusion and query.
We wish the aspirants All the BEST!!