Can following the rules alone make our actions ethical? With suitable examples, discuss how following rules can be unethical and breaking rule can be ethical.

Rules and regulations are the instruments to ensure the rule of law in the society. Ethics prescribe the individuals to adhere to the rules and regulations established by the society for the twin benefit of societal harmony and condusive atmosphere for the individual.
There are instances when breaking a rule would be ethical rather than following it. Few months back the President of India was on an official visit in Bengaluru. Providing signal free unhindered movement for the president’s convoy is the duty of city police.
Police had blocked the public access in the routes through which presidents convoy was about to pass.
But an ambulance was struck in the blocked route. Realising the seriousness of the situation a policeman made way for the ambulance to pass. This resulted in the disruption of the free movement of the president’s convoy. Even though policeman broke the rule which is against rule of law, his action resulted in saving of a life.
Hence at time situation demands individuals to break the rules to address a crisis like situation. An ethical mind coupled with voice of conscience is in a better position to take decision, on the necessity of an action which would break the rule for an ethical outcome in an exceptional situation but it cannot be a norm.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Can following the rules alone make our actions ethical? With suitable examples, discuss how following rules can be unethical and breaking rule can be ethical.

Published: April 2, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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