2017 Mock Test 8 – GS-IV: Ethics Case Study – 6

The first option in my opinion is the best option as it is fair and impartial. However, the demerit of this option is as follows. The first rule of any enquiry is that the person direct or indirectly involved with the case should not be a party to inquiry. It is quite possible that while making a report, I am unconsciously biased and minimize my responsibility.
The second option is an expedient option. Although this option is technically right but morally wrong. As the head of the district, I should have the moral courage to take responsibility for an accident resulting in a large scale tragedy. The practical merit of a solution is inferior to the moral merit.
The third option is an ideal option as it follows the rules and codes of an enquiry or investigation. This option has a strong merit. However, the demerit of this option is that this option makes me nm away from my responsibility. Yet, it can be counter argued that it does not make me run away from responsibility but on the contrary makes me more responsible by not judging an issue in which I am also a party to the crime.
The fourth option is highly unethical as it makes the cinema owners a scapegoat for committing a crime in which they were as much responsible as some of the concerned state agencies. This option has no merit to speak of.
The fifth option is both an irrational and unethical option. Every accident including the rarest of the rare kind must be caused by the action of people responsible for safe and efficient functioning of a system. This option has no merit at all except perhaps that it follows out of goodwill towards everyone, but goodwill should not overlook even unintentional crime committed by someone.
Given the context of this case, I would request to be relieved from the task of inquiry citing my individual responsibility to some extent in the tragedy. If I am not relieved, I will make a fair and impartial report indicting everyone including myself.

Question for UPSC Mains:
In a recent tragedy, a cinema hall in your city caught fire leading to the death and severe injuries to more than 50 persons. The state orders an immediate inquiry into the incident. You are in charge of inquiry in your capacity as the district commissioner. In your inquiry you discover severe lapses made by the cinema hall owners. They had violated norms in respect of safety. They had also violated regulations governing construction of cinema halls with enough exit doors and emergency exit doors. The norms on safety from accidental fires were also not met. In other words, if your report indicts the cinema owners for lapses, they would be charged with homicide not amounting to murder. However, several state agencies and the officers serving them could also become victims of the report because they let these lapses to continue and were a party to the crime because allowed the cinema owners or gave them license to operate even when the conditions were not met. You find that you are also responsible for the incident because you either did not inspect the cinema hall periodically as required or you could not identify the lapses in your inspections. 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.
  1. You will make a detailed report indicting everyone including yourself.
  2. You will seek a legal advice that exonerates you legally and then make a report exonerating yourself.
  3. You will request to be relieved of your inspection duties citing your personal responsibility in the accident as a reason.
  4. You will make a report that holds the cinema owners solely responsible for the case.
  5. You will make a report highlighting the fact that this was one off accident ofrarest of the rare kind that could not have been avoided thereby minimizing the responsibility on everyone. {300 words; 25 Marks}

Published: September 22, 2017 | Modified:September 22, 2017