Day 33 – Q 2. Impartiality can’t be equated with neutrality. Do you agree? Critically comment. (10 Marks)

  • IASbaba
  • March 4, 2022
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Ethics Theory, GS 4, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. Impartiality can’t be equated with neutrality. Do you agree? Critically comment. (10 Marks)

निष्पक्षता की तुलना तटस्थता से नहीं की जा सकती। क्या आप सहमत हैं? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।


Students are expected to write about both neutrality and impartiality and then as question demands to critically comment write points based on both as equal tenets of ethical values and also provide alternate side to it. 


Impartiality and Neutrality both form essential foundational values for civil services. While impartiality ensures equality without any bias and prejudices in the general, neutrality ensures a neutral approach in politics and a solid commitment to the government.


  • Neutrality: Neutrality is political neutrality or non-partisanship in the context of public administration. It means one is not being specifically owned or affiliated with any group, party or cause.
  • Impartiality: Impartiality is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.

Impartiality and neutrality can’t be equated:

  • Impartiality means that civil servants in carrying out their official work, including functions like procurement, recruitment, delivery of services etc, should take decisions based on merit alone.
  • However, neutrality implies that the administrator is to do his task without any fear of, or favour to any political party. The values of the administrator will flow from the constitution not from the ideology of any political party.
  • Neutrality means in a crisis humanitarian situation aid must not favour any side in an armed conflict or other dispute. Impartiality means that humanitarian aid must be provided solely on the basis of need, without discrimination.

Impartiality and neutrality are same with similar characteristics:

  • Both imply tolerance and restraint, particularly in dealing with political or religious convictions.
  • Both values lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the commitments of a public servant.
  • Both ensure citizen-centric administration and help in realizing the political and socio-economic justice.
  • Impartiality imparts creation of positive & conducive work culture, keeping oneself free from nepotism, political-corporate nexus and corruption. 
  • Without neutrality, there can be a close nexus between bureaucracy and large-scale enterprises which could further lead to crony capitalism.


However, it’s a bitter truth that neutrality and impartiality is seldom achieved in public service. In a diverse country like ours it is important that civil servants uphold these values and become a true democratic interface. These values become more so important where laws or guidelines are absent or not defined clearly.

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