Ethics Case Study No 3 by ClearIAS.com related to Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude (Civil Services Mains Paper 5): Readers can post answers in the comment-space provided.
Ethics Case Study No 3 : Change in Eligibility Criteria
Question: You are the entrance exam commissioner for conducting Medical Entrance Tests. As per Government norms a few seats are reserved for students from economically backward sections. The criteria for economic backwardness is family income. Those students whose family income is below 4 lakhs per annum, based on merit, will qualify for the mentioned seats. Students are asked to declare their family income while filing application.
When you published the final rank list after the exam, you get a call from the concerned minister. He presents before you a special case of his relative. While filing the application, his relative gave family income declaration as 6 Lakhs as his parent was working then. But two months after filing the application the parent retired from service and now the family income is only 3 lakh per annum. The student is bright, but will get admission only if gets the economic backwardness quota.
The Minister asks you not to stick too much to rules and give the benefit of family income to the student, by treating this as a special case.
Is there any thing unethical in the minister’s demand? What will be your approach to this case?
Sumit Singh says
I think minister’s demand is unethical. Because as per the details provided in the application form, that student does not belong to the economical backward category. There could be many students who have the same case as the politician’s relative. So, this case should not be considered as a special case, as it will be injustice and discrimination to other students.
I will try to explain to the politician that this is unethical and unlawful to consider it as a special case, as the rules don’t permit for it.
Soumya Datta says
first thing, i will mention while making rules that special cases will be considered. So it will be ethical to consider such cases.
cool guy says
firstly there must be a mention of final interpreting authority for special cases (like supreme court for Indian constitution), in this case I am that authority, at my discretion i will consider it as a special case but only this case I will prepare almost all possible special cases which are likely to be happen in future, this particular is forwarded by minister because student is his relative it can be kinda nepotism or partisanship on my head which is against the spirit of bureaucracy. I will put a notice on website mentioning almost all possible special cases to be consider by commission for recruitment and for this case I will ask for a written letter from minister which can be used as an evidence in future by department.
bijay kumar jena says
first of all i will check the provision of amendment in financial certificate after submitting final application form. this the first step toward deciding the case is ethical or unethical.
i will go through the proper way because i never want to give any wrong reply of RTI application of any candidate.
As a holding a responsible office of exam commissioner, I would chose to go by the rules. Yes certainly, minister could be convinced that the income criterion is not for the future income. But the current income at the time of filling up of the application form. If someone’s income reduces or increases that doest not have retrospective impact in the application process.
As a responsible person its the duty of exam commissioner to make sure the selection process of the entrance test is fair for everyone after all it is the fundamental right of all Indian citizens. No one should be deprived of this right in any circumstances.
The candidate proposed by the minister might be bright but there must be even brighter candidate in accordance of the due process of the entrance exam and hence the merit based selection should prevail.
I am sure by this a minister could be convinced to adhere with the process and not to circumvent it.
if you are reading it, please help to provide feedback. I thank you in advance.
Rohtak Singh says
The ministers case can not be taken as exception as myself being a Exam Director I have the responsibility of being fair and unbiased. Preserving the essence of constitution, ethics and morality I would not agree with the minister’s fact and will continue making the list as per the merit of students.
Vijayalakshmi D says
The demand of minister is unethical. Apart from minister’s demand, there is a opportunity to look into student background to full fill the criteria.
Even background class family income may change(increase) if they change their job.
In this case, background family income will comes under within 3lakh once they retired and student is bright and chance to come in merit list.
Then, we can consider this as a special case as there is a opportunity in the constitution. And no need to spoil the bright student future in the name of strict moral exam commissioner. Instead we can give opportunity to talented student by considering this as a special case.
Hence, we need to look into student’s future and background of family while considering as a special case but no need to consider special case for all the recommendation.
A non-creamy layer person may get creamy layer position during application process. In this situation he will definitely benefit by his family background whether he got selected by the application process or not. Similarly every person gets down their financial position like given case, also get worse after the process. As the Authority of the whole selecting process, I can make change in the process to re apply the students who are in the same case after I requested from politician. Then this opportunity will be helpful for the needy candidates.
But, as per my own ethical basis, the recommended candidate is well settled these days by his family financial position so far. By this situation he may got many chances to engage himself to forward. The same case is not for others who may felt many struggles to come this stage. So I will give any favor to no one.
Selection must be just and fair. Although minister is asking for not to follow rule but following him blindly is against my moral and ethical values.
Obviously the Student who is recommended for special case by minister is not in final selection list.
As an entrance exam commissioner I have two choices
1. By considering special case and selecting recommended student at the cost of another selected student.
2. Not accepting minister’s recommendation by saying that there is no chance of alteration in final selection list.
This is the case of ethical dilemma.
I will look into exam notifications in confluence to this case.
If no, I will choose second option.
Recommended student was ineligible when application form filled. So I will consider him ineligible under economically weaker section for whole selection process.
If yes, I will consider the recommended student on the basis of merit under economically weaker section and accordingly alteration will made in new final selection list.The Student who is selected in fist list and rejected in second will provided justification.
Ramesh Kumar says
Ministers demand is unethical because he is asking to do favour to one candidate rather than asking to verify the rules in this regard. Income, on date of application is a relevaent fact to decide the candidature , so it cannot be revised on basis of a subsequent change. I will advise the minister to seek legal opinion on policy matter of accomodating such cases in future.