SECURE SYNOPSIS : 18 SEPTEMBER 2017

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SECURE SYNOPSIS : 18 SEPTEMBER 2017


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

1) It is said that the most important historical event of the last two decades has been the battle over the Narmada dam. Do you agree? Discuss critically the socio-cultural, political and economic significance of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA). (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Hindu

 

Ans-

Introduction-

The ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ led by leaders like Medha Patkar, Baba Amte etc is one of the most significant protest movement that Independent India has ever seen. The ‘Narmada Bachao’ movement has attracted international attention and many prominent intellectuals of the country have enlisted their support to the movement. The Supreme Court, the highest judicial authority in the country, has already delivered significant judgments on quite a few issues relating to this project.

The battle over the Narmada dam is termed as the most important event of the last two decades because of following reasons-

  • Large numbers of stakeholders like indigenous people, environmental activists, and academic, scientific and cultural professionals participated and founded a cluster of NGOs. The extent of participation was unprecedented in the history of independent India. These NGOs allied in 1989 to form the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), or the ‘Save Narmada Movement’, led by Medha Patkar.
  • Unlike other social justice organizations in India at the time, the NBA directly opposed dam construction altogether and proposed various development alternatives, including decentralized methods of water harvesting.
  • It was this movement where techniques like fasts, hunger strikes and Satyagrahas were used on large scale to oppose the building of dam.
  • World Bank had withdrawn its support and funding to the dam after large scale protest and socio-economic and environmental concerns. It was the first time that World Bank’s policy decision was influenced by the people’s movement.
  • The movement also attracted large scale international attraction particularly regarding human rights violation and environmental concerns.

Significance of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)-

Socio-cultural-

  • Different sections of society like women, farmers, social activists, environmentalists and human rights activists were united against single cause.
  • Increased awareness- the movement succeeded in increasing the awareness of common people about the human rights, pros and cons of large hydro projects, plight of displaced people etc
  • The movement brought large number of women into the struggle. In fact the movement was led and organized by a women leader.

One of the unintended consequences of the NBA was that it divided the Gujarati society into two groups. One opposing the construction of the dam consists of indigenous and displaced people and the other supporting group of urban people who were expecting the benefits out of such project.

Political-

  • The use of political techniques such as peaceful marches, satyagraha etc of the NBA against the democratically elected government shows the evolution of Indian democracy.
  • Pan-Indian integration- the struggle was not limited to Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh only but the NBA received the support from across the nation and even from other political leaders such as Nitish Kumar.
  • It was one of its kind political struggle in the history of independent India that has aroused the political consciousness of masses and has inspired other such movements against forceful displacement.

Amidst of all these political events, the state government in Gujarat has been accused of mishandling the protest and indulging into human rights’ violations.

Economic-

  • The NBA made World Bank to withdraw its assistance for the project. Thus government had to bear the whole cost of the project resulting into delays in the constructions of the dams.
  • The NBA has brought the issue of sustainable development to the fore and has made government to re-prioritize the various dimensions of constructing large projects.

Conclusion-

The Sardar Sarovar dam has finally been completed and dedicated to the nation by the honorable Prime Minister of India. However the struggle ensued during the last two decades against the constructions of the dams would stand as an example for the future movements and may ensure the preservation of rights of the affected people while maintaining the pace of the infrastructural development.

Supplementary information-

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is a social movement consisting of Adivasis, farmers, environmentalists                                                 and human rights activists against the number of large dams being built across the Narmada River, which flows through the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat is one of the biggest dams on the river and was one of the first focal points of the movement. It is one of the many dams under the Narmada Dam Project. The main aim of the project is to provide irrigation and electricity to people in these states.

Medha Patkar has been the guiding light of the movement. She has organized several fasts and satyagrahas. Patkar has also been to jail because of her desire to achieve right to life and livelihood for the suppressed people.

Another popular figure was Baba Amte, known for his work against leprosy. He published a booklet called Cry O Beloved Narmada in 1989 to protest against the construction of the dams.

Amongst the major celebrities who have shown their support for Narmada Bachao Andolan are Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy and Aamir Khan.

The Supreme Court ruled for Andolan, effecting an immediate stoppage of work at the dam and directing the concerned states to complete the rehabilitation and replacement process.

It deliberated on this issue further for several years and finally upheld the Tribunal Award and allowed the construction to proceed, subject to conditions. The court introduced a mechanism to monitor the progress of resettlement pari passu with the raising of the height of the dam through the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRA) in each party state. The decision referred in this document, given in 2000 after 7 years of deliberations, has paved the way for completing the project to attain full envisaged benefits. The court’s final line of the order states, “Every endeavour shall be made to see that the project is completed as expeditiously as possible”.

 


 

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

2) ” All India Judicial Services may streamline vacancies at lower judiciary but Higher Judiciary still remains a challenge to achieve holistic Judicial Reforms.” Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 

Ans-

All India Judicial Service (AIJS) is proposed with the objective to select the district judges at all India level and to allocate them into different states on the lines of present All India Services. This would bring the transparency and efficiency in the recruitment process, reduce the corruption and nepotism, reward the merit and would reduce the vacancy at the lower levels. Though such service can be used to deal with the vacancies at lower judiciary, it is not the panacea for the existing judicial problems.

In 2016, around 478 posts out of a sanctioned strength of 1,079 high court judges were lying vacant. This forms about 44.3 per cent vacancies which are huge. Even at present 6 high courts have no permanent chief justices. Thus the problem of judicial vacancy at the higher judiciary has assumed the alarming proportion.

Also Supreme Court had quashed the government’s attempt to form National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) to expedite the appointment process and to bring the transparency in the process. Hence the process of appointing judges at higher level still remains opaque and logjam between judiciary and the executive has prolonged the delays in the appointments, escalating the problem.

Thus judicial reforms concerning the hastening the process of appointment of judges and bringing transparency without infringing judicial space has become top priority.

The first and foremost step is to bring harmony between Judiciary and Executive. The government and the collegium have been unable to agree on a Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges. In order to ensure national interest, Government wants to have the power to reject recommendations from collegium, whereas the judiciary opposes such a veto clause. Judiciary’s stance is in line with the principle of ‘Separation of power’ which is the basis of Indian political system. However it does not mean that judiciary should insulate itself from all standard processes and work arbitrarily.

Further, there needs to be institutional framework to expedite the process of appointment, to take into account the views of the executive and which would also reduce the discretion of the collegium. Although NJAC has been scrapped by SC, any alternative arrangement should come from judiciary itself.

One of the biggest problems is the issue of “judicial dynasties” or collegium which prefers to appoint relatives, friends, former colleagues and juniors. There is a deep concern over this issue because it strikes at the very essence of merit and transparency in judicial appointments. Thus only seniority should not be sole criteria for the promotion to the top posts. Thus merit should also be recognized in addition to the Seniority for the posts of High courts and Supreme Court.

Judiciary could also form some sort of screening committee for all judges-elect comprising eminent persons and retired judges to ensure criteria-based selections

According to the former CJI T S Thakur, 8-9 states account for around 70-80% of the pendency of the cases at High courts. It also means that some of the problems of higher judiciary are endemic to specific high courts. Thus there is need to focus on such low performing high courts and efforts be made to bring them at par with the other courts.

Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism, Lok Adalats etc should be explored on greater scale to reduce the burden of the judiciary at all levels.

The problems of the Indian judiciary at all levels have reached catastrophic levels. The public is losing confidence in the judiciary despite the latter’s assertions. The logjam between Judiciary and Executive can only result in distress for the public. Thus reforms both at lower and higher levels of judiciary are urgently required to keep their pillar of democracy stronger and powerful.


 

Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy. 

3) Police Reforms must target towards creating law enforcement immune from political bias but accountable to the Rule of Law. Comment. (200 Words) 

The Hindu

Ans-

Police forces in India are being criticized to have become an instrument for political parties in power that solely promote their interests. The rule of law seems to be taking back seat when it comes to interests of the political leaders. The political control over the police has not only proved detrimental to the efficacy of police system, it has also breed corruption and nepotism in the system.

Even the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2007) has noted that this control has been abused in the past by the political executive to unduly influence police personnel, and have them serve personal or political interests

The prerogative of state government to appoint, promote, transfer and suspend police officers has resulted into police officers being working for the appeasement of political leaders. Thus India needs police reforms which would insulate police forces from the political aggrandizement and make them immune from the political bias. In this context recommendations of various reports/Cases are needs to be highlighted.

  • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has recommended that political power be limited to promoting professional efficiency and ensuring that police is acting in accordance with law.
  • Alternatively the National Police Commission (1977-81) suggested that superintendence be defined in the law to exclude instructions that interfere with due process of law, or that influence operational decisions, or that unlawfully influence police personnel transfers, recruitments, etc
  • Prakash Singh Vs Union of India- In this case Supreme Court gave detailed judgement in 2006 to insulate police from the political bias. Some of them were creating State security Commission, securing two years of appointment to DGP, setting up of Police Establishment Board (PEB) and National Security Commission etc.
  • T P Senkumar Case (2017) – In a major verdict, the Supreme Court ordered the Kerala government to restore the services of ousted DGP T P Senkumar holding that his removal was arbitrary and not as per established law. It’s rare for the apex court to interfere in such appointments and the ruling has led to a debate on judicial overreach.

Though judiciary is intervening to restore the credibility of police system, the efforts should also come from state and central government for improving the present status of the police forces. Also attention should be paid to the factor that while making police immune from the political bias, there should be institutional mechanism for ensuring accountability of police to rule of law and towards constitutional duty.

Any misuse of power and high handed behavior of police must be sternly punished. Police complaints authority (Prakash Singh Case) should be created in every state to monitor and redress any wrong doing on the part of police officials. Appointments and promotions should be made on the basis of merit and performance.

Police is a state subject. Hence state should initiate the reform processes according the guidelines given by Supreme Court in Prakash Singh Case, Model Police Act 2006 and best practices followed all over the world. Unless and until policing system is reformed and made accountable to rule of law, there can be no welfare state as envisioned in the constitution.

 

 


Topic: Indian economy – growth and development;

4) With reference to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, analyse the causes leading to Wilful Defaulting of payments to Banks in India. Also, highlight multi layered measures that can be undertaken to improve the same. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Ans-

As per the information provided by TransUnion CIBIL, a credit information bureau , willful defaults by borrowers from banks rose from Rs 74,694 crore in March 2016 to Rs 1,09,594 crore as of March 2017.

A willful default is defined by the RBI as one where the unit has defaulted in meeting its payment/repayment obligations to the lender when it has the capacity to honour these commitments. It also includes those that have siphoned off or not utilised funds for/from the specific purposes for which finance were availed.

The reasons for rise in willful defaulters can be:

  • It has been observed that some larger groups are funding the smaller entities within or outside the group. This funding may have interest or can be lend interest free. These kind of lending are not repaid, making that group a willful defaulter.
  • The diversion of money from its money makes that entity a willful defaulter as per RBI norms.
  • If the borrower sells off the asset which he bought with the loan taken without the knowledge of the bank, then too he can be deemed a willful defaulter.
  • The reason is that, there is no specific law against willful defaulters, as RBI takes action as per law such as SARFAESI act. This creates environment of varying norms that raises the willful defaulters.

Measures needed to curb act of willful defaulting:

  1. Establishment of Insolvency Regulatory Board which has members from RBI and the Central Board. This board deals with matters related to insolvency and bankruptcy cases specially.
  2. The code proposes the creation of a new class of insolvency professionals that will specialize in helping sick companies. This kind of specialisation will reduce the cases of defaulting.
  3. Bankruptcy code 2016 provides for creation of information utilities that will collate all information about debtors to prevent serial defaulters from misusing the system.
  4. There is provision of penal provision, in case of act of defaulting. This provision is hardly get implemented with its true spirit. Sticking to stringent norms about punishment can create a strong deterrent against defaulting.
  5. To protect workers’ interests, the code has provisions to ensure that the money due to workers and employees from the provident fund, the pension fund and gratuity fund shouldn’t be included in the estate of the bankrupt company or individual. This is one of the protections provided to workers.
  6. The public disclosure names of willful defaulters by bank, is one of the measure to reduce defaulting.

Willful defaulting is crime that deteriorates health of the company to borrow and help other needy people and entities. The comprehensive Bankruptcy code of 2016 is a step towards a culture of financial responsibility by borrowers as well. The other related laws also need to bring in synergy in order to implement bankruptcy code with its full potential.

Additional information:

Some other features of Bankruptcy code 2016 are:

  • Code to help wind up sick businesses-

On the parameter of resolving insolvency, India is ranked 136 among 189 countries. At present, it takes more than four years to resolve a case of bankruptcy in India, according to the World Bank. The code seeks to reduce this time to less than a year.

  • Cross-border insolvency-

The bankruptcy code has provisions to address cross-border insolvency through bilateral agreements with other countries. It also proposes shorter, aggressive time frames for every step in the insolvency process—right from filing a bankruptcy application to the time available for filing claims and appeals in the debt recovery tribunals, National Company Law Tribunals and courts.

  • Revival plan-

The code stipulates a 180-day deadline for an ailing or defaulting company to decide on a revival plan. If 75% of creditors agree on a revival plan, that term can be extended by 90 days. Otherwise, a firm would be automatically liquidated.

 

 


Topic: Indian economy – growth and development; Investment models.

5) India’s reforming Current Account Deficit hints more towards measures undertaken internally than support garnered externally. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Current account deficit is a measurement of a country’s trade where the value of the goods and services it imports exceeds the value of the goods and services it exports. There has been increased in current account deficit in first quarter which is high in last four years reaching to $14.3 billion.

The analysis of this situation can be :

  • The merchandise export of India is falling continuously. Many domestic reasons are responsible for this fall in export. Trade component being one of the strongest components of current account, unfavourable trade arm surely hits the overall balance.
  • The strong rupee has reduced the margins in exports. Exports have become more and more costly due to high value of Indian rupee in international market. RBI is trying to weaken rupee by purchase of dollars but it has its own limitations.
  • Strong capital account has increases the forex reserve of country to all time high, reaching to $400.7 billion. RBI’s purchase of dollars in environment of high value of rupee is one reason for high forex reserve of India.
  • On capital side, there is much economic strength in existence due to high inflows of foreign direct investment and portfolio investment. Increase in NRI deposits and fall in commercial borrowings of India has strengthened the capital arm of BOP.

Measures to be taken internally:

  • All above said conditions clearly indicate that India must prepare itself to face the coming volatility in international market till the domestic economic conditions are enough good to do so.
  • India and other eastern countries have benefited form loose monetary policy of USA and some other western countries. This situation may change in recent future, so India must prepare itself.
  • There is need to reduce imports and increase the exports, especially merchandise exports of country.
  • India must get investments done from coming FDI that can generate employment, which further boost the private consumption in country.
  • This will revitalize the domestic environment for more public and private investment, increasing exports as well.

As per World Bank, India’s external dynamics of India remains very favorable given the size of its economy and foreign reserve holdings. This favorable condition must be utilised to strengthen economy within in order to face the coming international economic challenges such as high interest rates, flight of capital and volatility.

Additional information:

Current Account – It deals with current, ongoing, short term transactions like trade in goods, services (invisible) etc. It reflects the nation’s net income.

There are 4 components of Current Account-

  • Goods – trade in goods
  • Services (invisible) – trade in services eg. tourism
  • Income – investment income
  • Current unilateral transfers – donations, gifts, grants, remittances

What is Current Account Deficit?

  • It’s simply deficit on all 4 components of current account.
  • (Export – Import) + Net income from abroad + Net Transfers
  • (Export – Import) is trade deficit
  • CAD = Trade Deficit + Net Income From Abroad + Net transfers

CAD is bad because –

  • If a CAD is financed through borrowing, it is unsustainable because borrowing lead to high interest payments in the future
  • Attracting capital flows (hot money, FII) to finance the deficit is risky as when confidence falls, hot money flows dry up, leading to a rapid devaluation and crisis of confidence. Eg. East Asian Crisis
  • Run a CAD necessarily means running a surplus on the capital account. This means foreigners have an increasing claim on your assets, which they could redeem any time.

 


Topic: Infrastructure 

6) Infrastructural readiness is a key factor towards efficiency in delivery of public good and services. Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The very concept of welfare state as enshrined in directive principles of state policy highlights the inclusive development and upliftment of marginalised sections of the society. The public goods and services are the main instrument through which government tries to bring the positive change in the life of people. The physical skeleton than facilitates the efficient delivery of public goods and services at right time to right people.

The infrastructural readiness is important because:

  1. The strong infrastructure (physical asset) for various public services and goods generates the very essential goodwill among the citizen of India towards the democratically elected governance. This faith of fellow countrymen is lifeblood of democracy in country.
  2. Efficient infrastructure in India is crucial in order to cater the various basic needs of lacks of people who depend on public assistance for their survival. Thus good infrastructure is essential for survival of many people in India even today.

Eg: PHC in rural India are in bad shape, resulting into increasing unaffordable share of private health care infrastructure in rural areas as well.

  1. Efficient infrastructure reduces the disparity in living among various sections of the society. The rich a poor divide can be bring down if good quality services are made available to all.
  2. Infrastructure with public and private entities such as road, ports, electricity, and petroleum can create the growth centers for economic development. Revenue for government entities will strengthen its abilities to deliver its work in more efficient manner.
  3. The financial and technical skill with public institutes along with a strong will to establish good infrastructure can mainstream the socially excluded sections of the society.

Eg: Rurban mission tries to reduce rural urban disparity by providing services to rural areas exclusively.

  1. The digital infrastructure is new tool to deliver public goods and services in very short time. In order to do so, it needs to be of excellent quality, secure and concerned about privacy of various stakeholders involved in overall process.
  2. Human infrastructure is very important to move the things for the purpose of expected results. Skilled, ethically sound human infrastructure can change the face of existing agony of public goods delivery system.
  3. High quality technical infrastructure is need of time due to ongoing digital drive in country. Eg: Digital India program. As much state has enacted right to service, the technical readiness of infrastructure is must to ensure accountability from government side.

Eg: Geo tagging of work done under MGNREGA has launched successfully in many states of India.

  1. Infrastructure readiness holds the potential to collaborate the efforts of various stakeholders such as private entities, NGOs, Civil services organisations, International aid agencies etc. This collaboration of efforts can make delivery of goods and services not just efficient but also dynamic in nature.

Conclusion:

Infrastructure is at heart of successful delivery of public goods and services to the last mile of the country. Infrastructure is capital investment that ultimately creates a social and human capital for future generations. The quality of infrastructure must be taken on agenda rather than mere expansion of physical assets as such.

Additional information:

Challenges in infrastructural development:

  • Financing: The infrastructure projects are highly capital intensive and funding had been one of the major impediments in achieving the infrastructure goals.
  • Land Acquisition: One of the significant challenges in achieving the infrastructure goal is the way land acquisition is done for infrastructure projects. Compensation fixed in terms of registered value is always the bone of contention.
  • Another major source of delays is the need for clearances from numerous agencies.
  • Emerging challenge for the achievement of large infrastructure projects is the capacity of the private sector to undertake or implement such projects. Today, most large companies in India are integrated players executing projects as developers. However, the total number of such players is low and they have already secured several projects, which limits their capacity to undertake new ones, given the financing and other issues mentioned above.
  • Deciding the right energy mix due to wicked problem such as affordability of environmentally friendly solutions for energy.
  • Security component of digital infrastructure.

Diag: Initiatives by government

 


Topic: Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping

7) Critically evaluate progress made in union government’s PDS digitisation drive. Do you think digitisation of PDS will improve its efficiency and plug its loopholes? Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Public distribution system (PDS) is an Indian food security system. Established by the Government of India under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution and are managed jointly by state governments in India, it distributes subsidized food and non-food items to India’s poor. This scheme was launched in India on June 1947. Major commodities distributed include staple food grains, such as wheat, rice, sugar, and kerosene, through a network of fair price shops (also known as ration shops) established in several states across the country. Food Corporation of India, a Government-owned corporation, procures and maintains the PDS.

Problems in PDS working and need for digitisation :-

  • Due to misclassification of poor and non poor the PDS suffered nearly 60% errors of exclusion and 25% errors of inclusion in past.
  • It was also observed that the leakages and illegal sell of foodgrains in open markets, lack of grievances redressal mechanism and transperancy was defeating the very purpose of PDS. Almost 60% of the more than $14 billion India plans to spend on wheat, rice and sugar for the poor this year is likely to go missing according to World Bank estimates. About 5,000 Indian children aged 5 or younger die every day because of their poor diets, according to Unicef. Hence it is necessary to ensure that food reaches to the beneficiary. The success stories of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh about implementing IT measures to streamline the TPDS set and example for digitisation of PDS.

Impact of digitisation of PDS on efficiency and plugging loopholes :-

  • With computerisation of the supply-chain, the movement of foodgrains up to Fair Price Shop (FPS) level, can be tracked and the problem of leakage and diversion can be addressed.
  • Facilities of SMSs, e-mails, toll free numbers will be used to inform the beneficiary about the availability of TPDS supplies in the FPS, which will ensure timely and transparent distribution of foodgrains to beneficiaries as per their entitlement.
  • The transparency portal and social audit will further strengthen the functioning of FPSs and ensure accountability at various levels.
  • Beneficiaries will also be able to register their grievances through toll free numbers and seek resolution.

Progress made in PDS digitisation :-

  • With passage of three years to start digitisation of PDS at least 11 states have not taken elementary steps and nine others including Uttar Pradesh have hardly made progress.
  • In Bihar less than 1% of ration shops are digitised; the figure is 1% for Tripura, Delhi and Uttarakhand. Uttar Pradesh fares better with 16% shops digitised.
  • Centre has claimed 23.11 crore of digitised ration card which contains nearly 2.48 crore of bogus cards.

Conclusion :- Poverty is worst form of violence said Mahatma Gandhi and accessibility, availability to food constitute important part in alleviating poverty. PDS is visionary in this regard. Its digitisation is necessary not only to target the needy and allocate resources efficiently but also minimising loss to government and public exchequers hence steps like improving internet penetration in rural areas, electricity availability and POS sale machines, launching comprehensive awareness drive are needed.

Additional information :-

Case Studies

  • Electronic tracking is also being tried in Odisha, where the World Food Programme has collected fingerprints and iris scans of the 1 million people in Rayagada district to set up a system with 3M Co.
  • Tata Consultancy Services Ltd has joined forces with Haryana, which is preparing to issue smartcards to 25 million people, and global positioning systems are used in parts of Tamil Nadu to track trucks carrying food from storage facilities.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, where poverty is on par with sub-Saharan Africa, “about 35% of the state’s 44 million ration cards are held by ineligible people who bribe crooked bureaucrats to get them,”

Topic:  Human Values; Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics;

8) Laws, on occasion, may question principles of morality underlined while framing them. Given the SC judgment on dowry, analyse the relationship law has with morality. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 

Introduction :- In the Rajesh Sharma v. State of UP case Supreme Court recently while citing the NCRB data about the false complaints in dowry cases asked to substitute direct investigation with para-legal volunteers committee. This bring into notice the conflict of law and morality.

Law vs Morality :-

Written rules that are enforceable in courts are called laws while code of conduct that is unwritten and expected to be followed by all members of the society. Morality is what religion, society demands whereas law is what the state demands.

A civilized society’s first line of defense is not the law, police and courts but customs, traditions and moral values. They influence each other to a great extent.

In ancient India, the term Dharma connoted both law and morality. Law, it is pointed out, is not merely the command of the sovereign, it represents the idea of right or wrong based on the prevalent morality of the people.

Laws, to be effective, must represent the moral ideas of the people. But good laws sometimes serve to rouse the moral conscience of the people and create and maintain such conditions as may encourage the growth of morality.

Laws may question principle of morality while framing them can be seen in  examples like section 377 of IPC and section 124 of IPC which undermines the freedom  of expression, liberty of individual and their dignity to stand by what they believe in.

For example laws regarding Prohibition in India have not succeeded on account of the fact that full moral conscience of the people has not been aroused in favour of such laws.

Thomas Aquinas said in conflict with primary and secondary laws the primary laws should prevail over secondary laws that the morality should prevail the legality. While the Thomas Hobbes had opined that normally ethics is basis of law but in reality law determines the ethics for ex the capital punishment is considered ethical as its prescribed by law by state.

Hence it is necessary to understand the relation in order to make laws more holistic and acceptable by the society and to ensure their desired implementation and outcome.


TopicCodes of Ethics,

9) What are the ethical issues involved in relationships between reporters and their sources and editors? Examine what implications these issues will have on journalism and the public. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Ethics in journalism are based on professional conduct, morality and the truth. Not adhering to these fundamental principles leads to misrepresenting or misleading members of the public and conflict between the reporters and editors.

Relationship between reporters their sources and editors and ethical issues involved :-

  • Editors have an obligation to know the identity of unnamed sources used in a story, so that editors and reporters can jointly assess the appropriateness of using them.
  • If a reporter has followed all the guidelines that govern the processes of granting anonymity to a source, and then discovers a deliberate falsehood aimed at misleading the public, then to invoke the right to out the source becomes a valid defense. Otherwise the reporter will be seen as a confidence trickster.
  • Other issues involved conflict of interest where , fake news, paid news, yellow journalism, biased journalism, increasing corporatization of media house etc.

Implications :-

  • It distorts and create rift between the media persons which in a way affect the co ordination and quality of journalism.
  • It erodes the faith of general public in media houses and media is seen as medium of destabilising society and democracy rather than a concrete pillar of democracy.
  • This will also lead to deterioration of work culture, pollicisation of media and increase in unethical practices of favouritism, nepotism in media houses.

Conclusion :- Principle of self regulation and external regulation through civil society is best suited to media houses as any restriction by law and state may hamper the rights of media in general. Institutions like The Center for International Media Ethics, an international non-profit organization “offers platform for media professionals to follow current ethical dilemmas of the press” through its blog. Besides highlighting the ethical concerns of recent stories, journalists are encouraged to express their own opinion. can be promoted and given more teeth to ensure journalism is being practiced in ethical ways.

Additional information :-

Historical examples of ethical dilemmas in journalism:-

  • In the case of the Pentagon Papers, the dilemma was between exposing massive political deceit and protecting the secrecy of classified documents. It was about the Vietnam War. The Pentagon papers revealed that the administration denied any change in military policy even after ground operations began and that Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton prioritized preventing “a humiliating US defeat” over preventing the spread of communism or acting in the best interests of South Vietnam. The Nixon Administration obtained an injunction to stop publication of the papers and charged Ellsberg under the Espionage Act of 1917
  • Protecting confidentiality and exposing important information:- A famous journalist in Ireland Nick Martin-Clark, developed a rapport with a loyalist prisoner who confessed a murder to Martin-Clark after being promised confidentiality. Martin-Clark published the confession in the Sunday Times and testified in the resulting trial. He believed that his duty to uphold the public good trumped the promise of confidentiality in this case. There was a considerable backlash in the journalistic community against Martin-Clark’s decision to betray his source.