SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [9th February 2018]- Day 55
1. You are posted as the District Magistrate in a hill district of a North Indian state. The locals have an age-old tradition of sacrificing animals during the month of harvest. They celebrate the sacrificial ceremony with great zeal and vigor. However, the Supreme Court has just banned the practice of animal sacrifice after a PIL was filed against the practice by an international NGO. Yet the locals are adamant at following their revered tradition and are even ready to get arrested and face legal consequences. In fact, a group of young people from the locality has threatened to commit mass suicide if the administration attempts to interfere in their tradition. The situation appears to be out of control and journalists from all over the country have gathered in your district to witness the unfolding of events there.
What would be your response in this situation? Examine all the alternatives that you have at your disposal. Also, discuss their pros and cons. Which alternative will you choose finally? Why?
- Here 3 ‘broad’ options are there – go hard, don’t do anything or take the middle path (explained in the answer)
- You can use a tabular format to a pros and cons analysis
- Finally, elaborate on your decision taken and the reason behind it
The Indian Constitution under Article 29 provides for the protection of local culture and rituals. However, such rituals cannot be practiced against the rule of law – which in this case puts a ban on animal slaughter. As a District Magistrate the task at hand is to strike a delicate balance between respecting and upholding the Supreme Court ruling and respecting the ritual sentiments of the local population.
In the given situation, these are following course of action I can take:
|1.||Go hard and implement the SC ruling without any regard for the local grievances||
|2.||Give in to local pressure and not do anything||
|3.||The Middle Path:
Implement the Supreme Court decision, but at the same time hear out the concerns of the locals and try to mediate a plausible solution
As a DM, I will go with the third option as it is the most balanced and inclusive of the three. As an immediate precaution I will ask for force to be deployed to prevent any wrong action on part of the public and maintain law and order. At the same time, contact the gram panchayat and request a meeting at the earliest. In front the gram sabha, the people can be explained the rationale behind the ruling such that is not against only their tradition and it is a pan – India decision taken to protect animal rights. In such sensitive matters, it is important to assuage the fears of the local community and assure them of government support wherever needed.
If people can understand the scientific rationale behind the ruling, they will be in a better position to cooperate with the administration.
Q.2) You have authored a fictional book in which the characters and events belong to the 17th century. Even though your book is a work of fiction, by coincidence one of its characters bear resemblance to a 17th century king. The king is deeply respected or rather worshipped by the people of a dominant upper caste. In your book, the king has been shown in poor light and his followers are deeply offended and demand that the book be withdrawn from the market. You issued clarifications regarding the fictionality of the book but the protestors are not listening to any of your arguments. In some places, the protestors have started to vandalize the bookstores selling the copies of you book.
Deep within, you feel sad that even in a democratic country promising freedom of speech and expression, your creativity is being sacrificed on the altar of intolerance and irrationality. However, you decide to withdraw the book and pulp it in front of the protestors to stop the violence abated by the protestors.
Now answer the following questions:
Note: In case studies you can take any stand and it should be backed by the reasons and constitutional provisions, along with that you have to be pragmatic and doable solutions.
Was your decision to withdraw the book justified?
In this kind of questions you can take either of the stand:
Faced with instances of vandalism and possible threat to personal security, I decided to withdraw the book. However, the step wasn’t justified as:
- It amounts to surrender of my freedom and fundamental rights as a citizen (Art 19).
- It emboldens such act of hooliganism by inadvertently helping them achieve their goal.
- It reduces the space for literary creativity and dissent, and stifles free speech for future writers, artists, etc.
- I had done what I could by issuing a clarification with regarding the book. It is then up to the authorities to enforce law and order.
- This will make them more intolerant on future books as well as it will give them over pride on their acts and they will get confidence in doing so.
- It might set wrong precedence to these groups.
Faced with instances of vandalism and possible threat to personal security, I decided to withdraw the book. However, the step was justified as:
- It will prevail peace and it will stop vandalizing the shops and violence
- To respect sentiments of the people and I will look back at the work which I have done
- To maintain law and order in the society and it will stop fringe elements to take further extreme steps.
- Doing nothing is not a viable option since situations like this only fester and become more problematic.
Won’t your decision embolden such fringe elements?
Yes it will, but we need to buy the time for these fringe elements to maintain law and order and peace need to be restored at any cost, sometimes it is important to do such acts, and we need to act pragmatically. However, they have
- They succeeded in using illegal tactics to achieve their aims.
- By forcing their withdrawal, they seek to make history and enforce their own dominant narrative of it.
- Such surrender undermines legal authority, and erodes public trust in the administration.
What other steps could have been taken by you?
The steps that I should have taken are:
- File an FIR against such acts of public violence, and seeks police protection where it is required.
- Issue a second clarification emphasizing the fictitious nature of the book with greater dissemination.
- Seek protection in case of escalation in threats from administration or the related departments.
- Approach the court as it has impinged my right to freedom of expression.
- Form a jury involving all stake holders, and I will let them decide what can be done.
- If requires I try to change the character name as it is just a fictional, it might deescalate the situation.
Best Answer: gurupreet singh
Q.3) You are an advisor to the Minister of External Affairs on issues pertaining to bilateral relations. The minister is scheduled to visit a powerful country holding immense strategic and economic opportunities for India. If India can enter into a strategic partnership with the host country, it would help India in tackling challenges related to internal security, defense, energy, food, S&T etc. However, the host country has a poor track record in terms of its treatment of its neighbors. In fact in the United Nations, many resolutions have been passed against it for violation of human rights in its neighboring countries over territorial disputes. The neighboring countries of the host nation are important for India’s energy security as they have huge petroleum reserves which get exported to India as well. Moreover, the minority community in your country considers these countries sacred for their historical and religious value. They are protesting the visit of the minister and demanding that he must condemn the atrocities made by the host country and also pay a visit to its neighbors. Doing so, however, will send negative signals to the host nation and whatever goodwill India has earned will be lost. In a situation like this, what are the options available to the minister? Analyze. What would be your advice to the minister and why? Substantiate.
Dilemmas in the question as an advisor:
- Countries interest vs peoples sentiment at the home
- Host countries internal matters vs international resolutions against the host country on human rights violations
As an advisor of Minister of External Affairs on issues pertaining to bilateral relations India has to choose to resolve issues and interests separately with each party. This allows India to maintain the image of its historical, moral support for hosts neighboring country, and at the same it would help India in tackling challenges related to internal security, defense, energy, food, S&T etc. at the end of the day diplomacy is an art of maintaining relations with foreign powers to strengthen our interest in economic, strategic, defense & security and trade in world, as an Ministry of External Affairs and as an advisor, this is our duty to maintain the diplomatic lines at any cost for the development of our country.
Host countries internal matters vs international resolutions against the host country on human rights violations:
India should vote in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution when it comes to human rights violation, and we should show the solidarity wherever requires, that declared against the host country, at the same time we cannot alone do much on the international platform, we have to stick to the UNGA resolutions, as always we did till now as in the case of Russia as well in the past.
- It has territorial disputes with its neighbors and accusations of Human Rights violation, closer ties with such a country can harm India’s image disproportionately as India is internationally seen as a major benign power, with non-expansionistic and multipolarity a key part of its foreign policy. Such ties may undermine our credibility and lead to fears of similar big brother attitude among India’s neighbors.
- All of this support is surely valued by the host country neighbor as well as the minorities religious sentiments of our country, along with that back in India we need to make our people to understand the need of the technology from the host country for the development of our own people and we shouldn’t involve in the internal matters of other countries as it won’t serve the purpose of our interests.
- It is evident that the target country is vital to India’s multi-dimensional interests and however, there are a few issues with enhancing bilateral ties.
- India is major energy importer and we have to make sure that positive ties with host countries neighbor, if not it may threaten our energy security.
- Closer ties may alienate the minorities within India, undermining national cohesion, with possible internal security implications, so we have to consider carefully while taking diplomatic steps, as our countries internal security is equally important to us.
Options available to the minister:
- GO ahead with bilateral visit as per schedule: this can anger the hosts neighbor, with whom India has had long standing relations, it can put India’s energy supply at risk or can increase our cost. And it might also escalate minority religious sentiments in our country, as the government move might hurt them emotionally.
- Cancel the visit: this might satisfy both minorities and the host neighbor country, but this might hurt our own interests, as it is clearly mentioned If India can enter into a strategic partnership with the host country, it would help India in tackling challenges related to internal security, defense, energy, food, S&T etc. this is like short term gain for long-term pain.
- Visiting both countries at the same time: Or else MEA minister can visit both the countries and let them understand that our country’s interests are more important than anything else, and we have to make it clear that we are not against any country, as a diplomat and as an external minister, this is our job to make things happen at any cost, as our countries soft-power image is always there, we have to carry that image at any cost. This will be my advice as it is more pragmatic as well as it will solve both problems of our requirement and also satisfy our countrymen.
- And as an aspiring and rising power India must negotiate and host both countries for peaceful resolution, if they request for that as it will not only help India maintain its image as a soft power, but also it will enhance and promote the multi-polarity in the present world.