You are a municipal commissioner of a large city, having the reputation of a very honest and upright officer. A huge multipurpose mall is under construction in your city in which a large number of daily wage earners are employed. One night, during monsoons, a big chunk of the roof collapsed causing instant death of four labourers including two minors. Many more were seriously injured requiring immediate medical attention. The mishap resulted in a big hue and cry, forcing the government to institute an enquiry. Your preliminary enquiry has revealed a series of anomalies. The material used for the construction was of poor quality. Despite the approved building plans permitting only one basement, an additional basement has been constructed. This was overlooked during the periodic inspections by the building inspector of. The municipal corporation. In your enquiry, you noticed that the construction of the mall was given the green signal despite encroaching on areas earmarked for a green belt and a slip road in the Zonal Master Plan of the city. The permission to construct the mall was accorded by the previous Municipal Commissioner who is not only your senior and well known to you professionally, but also a good friend. Prima facie, the case appears to be of a widespread nexus between officials of the Municipal Corporation and the builders. Your colleagues are putting pressure on you to go slow in the enquiry. The builder, who is rich and influential, happens to be a close relative of a powerful minister in the state cabinet. The builder is persuading you to hush up the matter, promising you a fortune to do so. He also hinted that this matter is not resolved at the earliest in his favour there is somebody in his office who is waiting to file a case against you under the POSH Act. Discuss the ethical issues involved in the case. What are the options available to you in this situation? Explain your selected course of action. (250 words)

Ethical Issues Involved:

  • Conflict of interest: The builder is a close relative of a powerful minister, and the previous Municipal Commissioner is a friend, which creates a conflict of interest for me.
  • Corruption: There is a potential for a nexus between officials of the Municipal Corporation and the builders, which may have led to the use of poor-quality materials and the construction of an additional basement.
  • Prioritizing personal gain over public safety: The builder is pressuring me to overlook the issues and hush up the matter, and my colleagues are pressuring me to go slow in the enquiry, which may put personal gain above public safety.
  • Violation of laws and regulations: The mall was given the green signal despite encroaching on areas earmarked for a green belt and a slip road in the Zonal Master Plan of the city.

Options Available:

  • Go slow in the enquiry: This may appease the builder, the minister, and my colleagues, but it would be at the cost of public safety and the integrity of the enquiry.
  • Hush up the matter: This may appease the builder, the minister, and my colleagues, but it would be at the cost of justice for the deceased and injured labourers, and the integrity of the enquiry.
  • Report the matter to higher authorities: This may be seen as an act of betrayal by the builder, the minister, and my colleagues, but it would be in line with my duty to report any violations of laws and regulations.
  • Conduct a fair and impartial enquiry: This may be met with resistance from the builder, the minister, and the my colleagues, but it would be in line with my duty to ensure public safety and justice for the labourers.

Selected Course of Action:

  • Conduct a fair and impartial enquiry:
    • I will conduct an enquiry that is fair and impartial, and will not compromise on public safety and justice for the labourers.
    • I will report any violations of laws and regulations to higher authorities as per the legal requirement, despite any pressure from the builder, the minister, and my colleagues.
    • I will keep in mind that my duty is to protect the public interest, and not to prioritize my personal gain or the gain of others.
Mind map notes for UPSC
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