Q11. You are a no-nonsense, honest officer. You have been transferred to a remote district to head a department that is notorious for its inefficiency and callousness. You find that the main cause of the poor state of affairs is the indiscipline of a section of employees. They do not work themselves, and also disrupt the others who are working. You first warn the troublemakers to mend their ways or else face disciplinary action. When the warning has little effect, you issue a show cause notice to the ringleaders. As a retaliatory measure, these troublemakers instigate a female employee amongst them to file a complaint of sexual harassment against you with the Women’s Commission. The Commission promptly seeks your explanation. The matter is also publicised in the media to embarrass you further. Some of the options to handle this situation could be as follows:
1. Give your explanation to the commission and go soft on the disciplinary action.
2. Ignore the commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action.
3. Brief your higher-ups, seek directions from them and act accordingly.
Suggest any other possible option(s). Evaluate all of them and suggest the best course of action, giving your reasons for it. (250 words)
A senior civil servant is required to not only act honestly and efficiently himself but also make others do the same. If they go soft, the work culture in office deteriorates. If they take action, they face reaction from the inefficient and corrupt subordinates. However, they must discharge their duties honestly and justly.
The evaluation of different options is as following:
1. The officer must give complete information to the commission and explain to them that the complaint is mala-fide and false. He must provide evidence in his support and against the allegation. He must, however, never go slow on the disciplinary action to give the impression that he is scared of such false accusations.
2. A government officer has no option to ignore the commission which is vested with the power to summon and investigation. The officer must have faith in the commission and hope for justice. It is not advisable to go soft in the matter of disciplinary action.
3. It is a good idea to keep the senior officers of the departments informed as they can give you their experienced advice and help you solve the problem. They may also get an independent enquiry done within the organization—exonerating you, which can be quite helpful in later proceedings.
We may also give clear message to the lady to withdraw her false complaint. If she withdraws her allegations and offers an apology, we may promise her to close the matter from our end. If she does not agree, the right approach is to face the commission and carry out the disciplinary action in accordance with law. (269 words)
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