Chanakya IAS Academy Blog

Source: 2013 Mains question paper- 4

Note: this answer has been written for the purposes of explanation; Hence, it may not adhere to word limit. For examination purposes, phrases instead of full sentences could be used.

  • Introduction- The above case presents a situation where a Public Information Officer has to disclose certain information as per his duty obligations but the same may lead to substantial personal harm. Hence, the case presents a dilemma between duty and personal interests.
  • An evaluation of the various options available to the PIO are as follows:
    • Option 1- The PIO could refer the matter to his superior officer and seek his advice and strictly act in accordance with his advice, even though he is not completely in agreement the advice of his superior.
      Merits Demerits
      consulting the superior officer is a good idea as it earns the superior's confidence. shows lack of initiative and the PIO is shying away from responsibility in this case
      avoids harmful personal repercussions to some extent as superior might support the PIO. acting according to the superior's advice even when not in complete agreement with him shows sheer lack of courage and intellectual integrity.
      The superior's experience may be useful in solving the matter.  
    • The PIO could proceed proceed on leave and leave the matter to be dealt by his superior in office or request for transfer of the application to another PIO
      Merits Demerits
      prevents harmful personal repercussions towards the PIO’s career shows lack of courage and integrity
      prevents harmful repercussions to other employees who are involved in the matter shying away from responsibility for one’s action
        does not address duty obligations
        against morality
    • 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 application.
      Merits Demerits
      prevents harmful personal repercussions towards the PIO’s career does not address duty obligations
      prevents harmful repercussions to other employees who are involved in the matter telling half-truths is an act of deception
      not shying away from responsibility against morality
    • The PIO could consult his other colleagues who are party to the decision and take action as per their advice
      Merits Demerits
      takes into consideration the interests of other stakeholders duty to give correct information maybe compromised
      may prevent harmful personal repercussions towards the PIO’s career and other stakeholders shows lack of courage and integrity
        shying away from responsibility for one’s action
        shows lack of initiative
    • Advice to the PIO-
      Consult senior officer about the matter and make him aware about the lapse from your side. However, you must act as per your duty obligations and respond with full information. The lapse from your side may be considered an error in judgement and repercussions may not be severe considering your honest and clean record.
      Merits Demerits
      duty obligations fulfilled. shows immense courage and high level of integrity. may have some harmful personal repercussions
      consulting the superior officer is a good idea as it earns the superior’s confidence. The superior’s experience may be useful in solving the matter. may have repercussions for some employees
      not shying away from responsibility  
      personal integrity and honest character maintained.  
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