You are a Public Information Officer in a state electricity department. One day, a person asked you for the information about the revenues obtained by the department through collection of electricity monthly bills. Your boss advised you to not to give any information as this would have the potential of exposing corrupt practices in the department in the bill collection. Your boss also threatened you that he would stop your promotion in case you give the information. Discuss in details the ethical issues involved in this case and the possible course of action which can be taken by you.
Right to information act was passed to bring transparency in the system by making it a legal right to get information from any public body with some exceptions. Now being a Public Information Officer, it is your duty to abide by the law, failing which heavy and severe penalties can be imposed upon you.
Being silent on corrupt practices makes you also the culprit as well. Gandhiji once said that it is not due to bad people that we are face troubles but it is due to good people remaining silent. Moreover, legally also you are also liable and assumed as corrupt if you are complicit in any crime and support it by remaining silent.
Even if your boss is putting pressure on you not to provide information, you should not stop. You have to show complete integrity and not bow down to any kind of pressure. A life of integrity is worth living for. A life lived by corruption is corrupting one’s conscience and once conscience is corrupt, life has no meaning. So protection of one’s conscience should be done at any cost, come whatsoever. It may be that your boss stops your promotion but living to your principles makes your soul happier and you will be relaxed and morally strong and free from any criminal liability. Also, doing your duty with devotion in the long run will give you rewards and no one can snatch your promotion which you truly deserve.
In the long run, disclosing information will give the public a chance to understand the problem with electricity department better. This may streamline the processes and fixation of responsibilities. Finally, it may improve the functioning of a public department. So, just by doing your duty with dedication, corrupt will get punishment, law will be upheld, nation resources will be put to efficient use. So disclosing the information as per the law is the best course of action
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