Ethics Case Studies (11 to 20)
Case Study 11:
As a Block Development Officer, you were invited to preside over a Gram Sabha meeting in one of Gram Panchayats falling under your jurisdiction. The Gram Sabha was called to take a decision on two crucial things: to identify and confiscate fake job cards used under MGNREGA scheme and to choose the beneficiaries to allot houses under Indira Awas Yojana. You had ordered a month ago to all Gram Panchayat secretaries to conduct programs to create awareness and advertise about coming Gram Sabha so that people would participate in large numbers.
Unfortunately, on the day of Gram Sabha to which you were invited, very few villagers turned up. It is mandatory that at least one tenth of members of Gram Sabha (those whose names are in electoral rolls) attend the Gram Sabha. But on that day less than one tenth were in attendance. At the same time, all the Panchayat members were present. They all insisted that the Gram Sabha should continue as people would slowly come and attend as the meeting progressed. Somehow you were convinced and the meeting started. Those few who attended were chosen by vote to get homes allotted after verification that they met the criteria under the Indira Awas Scheme. Job card verification was not possible as there were no people at the meeting.
Next day you received a complaint by a villager accusing Panchayat members of coercing Panchayat Secretary to conduct Gram Sabha on a date when villagers had gone out to neighbouring village to attend a festival. According to the complaint this was done to stop the identification of fake job cards, which some elected Panchayat members had themselves created to siphon off money. The complaint also alleged that you and Panchayat ecretary had taken bribe from Panchayat members to conduct a fake Gram Sabha meeting. There was also allegation that beneficiaries who got allotted IAY houses were actually all relatives of Panchayat members present on the day of Gram Sabha.
1) Identify the major issues and your options in the case study. (150 Words)
2) As a responsible officer what were your duties prior to conducting Gram Sabha and what course of action you should follow after receiving the complaint. (200 Words)
a. Major issues:
• Dishonesty shown by gram panchayat members as they deliberately timed the gram sabha on a day when the attendance of people would be less
• Corruption: Prima facie it appears that as alleged in the complaint, the panchayat members did indulge in corrupt practices by create fake job card holders to siphon of money
• Nepotim: The gram panchayat members kept the interests of their relatives above the general public which elected them
• Accusation: The villages accusing me of collusion with panchayat memebers by taking bribe is a serious allegation. I need to prove my honesty so that people do not lose confidence in my conduct, which will effect my administrative duties in the future
b. My options:
• Cancel the whole gram sabha and all the allocations done on that day, and reconvene another one taking in to consideration when the maximum attendance would be there
• Ignore the complaint and blame the people for not attending it
a. My duties prior to conducting Gram Sabha
• Should have made sure that the panchayat chose a right day for the sabha
• The rules clearly stated that a sabha should not be conducted when the quorum of 1/10th members are not present. So I should not have started without it. As the secretary said that the people would come after it gets started, I would insist on waiting till people came
• I should have smelt that some thing is fishy because, there is no reason why people would not attend the sabha if they are being allotted a house. I would enquire other people the reason for the absence
• I would then cancel the sabha then and there and complain the conduct of secretary to higher ups
b. course of action I should follow after receiving the complaint
• I would call the panchayat secretary and ask for an explanation and take it in writing
• The secretary is clearly guilty as he should have known about the festival in the neighbouring village
• I would then join the complaint and the secretary’s explanation and my recommendation which is cancellation of the sabha and allocations on that day and send it to the higher ups
• I would apologise for my mistake to the people in the next sabha for not following the quorum rules
• I would also ask an enquiry in the alleged corruption and nepotism shown by panchayat and order cancellation of fake job cards
Case Study 12:
A former employee who was fired due to poor quality work, absences, and lateness related to her drinking problem, informs you that she has applied for a position at another company and has already given your name as a reference. She desperately needs a job (she is a single parent with three children), and she asks you to give her a good recommendation and not mention her drinking, which she assures you is now under control.
She also asks you to say that she voluntarily left the company to address a family medical crisis, and that the company was pleased with her work. You like this person and believe she is a good worker when she is not drinking. You doubt that she really has overcome her drinking problem, however, and you would not recommend your own company hire her back.
- What do you say to this woman?
- What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
- What if the prospective employer was a friend?
- Suppose the problem was a theft?
- Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
- What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?