Rajesh is an upper caste young man from a rural background. He had studied in the local government schools. However, he was an extremely sincere student and always topped his school. After his graduation, he wrote Civil Services Examination and got selected in Indian Police Service (IPS) in the first attempt itself. After completion of the training, he comes to his village to spend time with his family.
His family is extremely proud of his achievements, and so are the villagers as Rajesh is the first person from the village to be selected as an IPS officer. A large number of villagers come to his house to congratulate him.
Charandas is one of Rajesh’s childhood friends, who was extremely happy to know that his friend Rajesh is coming to the village after completing his training. He is a Dalit and considered untouchable in the village. In his village, Dalits are not allowed to come inside the house of upper caste people. They are not even allowed to sit before the upper caste people; they must always stand before them. However, Charandas comes inside the house to congratulate Rajesh.
All the people inside the house are upper caste people who get extremely angry seeing a Dalit boy inside. They start leaving the house as they can’t tolerate a Dalit person inside the house of an upper caste family. Rajesh’s mother got extremely upset and scolded Charandas before Rajesh, and told him that he has polluted the house. She insulted him and asked him to get out of the house.
She has committed an offence under SC/ST Act 1989. Rajesh knows the legal consequences of such an act, which may lead to her arrest and prosecution.
1. What is the dilemma faced by Rajesh?
2. What is the best way to resolve such a situation? Justify your answer.
1. Rajesh is a responsible police officer and he can’t ignore the violation of law taking place before him. If it would not have been his own mother, perhaps he would himself have taken action against such a person under the SC/ST Act. However, in this case, his own mother has committed the offence but it is also his duty to protect his mother as a son. He has to choose between the principle of honesty and principle of non-maleficence, i.e. not causing harm to his mother.
2. Rajesh must ask his mother to keep quiet and not use derogatory words against his friend. She must be asked to apologise to his friend for using such words and humiliating him in public. If she would have refused, he must immediately apologise to his friend on her behalf. He must tell his friend that he does not differentiate people on the basis of caste and he would always be his best friend. He may request him to not file a case against her mother and forgive her as she was ignorant of the law, and also of the modern social values. Charandas is a local resident of the village, so he knows the customs of the village. Hence, he would understand the outburst of his mother and perhaps forgive her for being an elderly lady who is captive of her regressive mindset. However, if Charandas chooses to file a case against his mother, he must depose as witness and ensure that law takes its course of action against his mother.
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