General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics): Ethical Behavior is guided by conscience rather than rules

gs paper 4 ethics


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Syllabus: General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics)

Ethical Behavior is guided by conscience rather than rules in public life. Examine with examples ( 10 Marks)



Conscience is the ability that helps one to distinguish whether ones actions are right or wrong. Conscience is a natural facility of our reason that does three things. remind us always to do good and avoid evil, makes a judgement about the good and evil of particular choices in a specific situations, bears  witness after the fact to the good or evil

In public life, ethical behaviour plays a significant role to develop a society, which consists of high standard moral values and respect for the laws enriched into our constitution.

Public life consists of imbibed values, virtues of society bound by the rules, regulations and laws made by the authorities. Laws, rules and regulations are secondary things to inculcate an ethical behaviour. They cannot be enforced force fully.

Conscience Matters:


  • Raj Ram Mohan Roy’s fight against sati: He fought against miserable condition of women when everyone opposed him.
  • Crime against woman, let us take an example of Nirbhaya case, if the men would have listened to their conscience, the incident would have never happened.
  • Sanjeev Kumar, a 1985 Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer of the Haryana cadre was convicted in the infamous Junior Basic Trained Teachers (JBT) recruitment scam, along with former Haryana Chief Minister O.P. Chautala and 55 others. 

It is the inner conscience and role of the parents, education institutions, and society as a whole to develop and teach ethical values to younger generations. To make society a safe place for living.


Rules are essential:

On the other hand, Principles, rules regulations are also essential tools for making a society a better and safe place.


  • Laws like Anti dowry laws enforced to protect woman from dowry harassment.
  • Prevention of corruption acts, are enforced to free a society from a corruption evil.
  • Reservation for SC/ST/OBC, to give them opportunity to make use of education and bring them in structured line.


Principle and conscience play very important role in ethical decision-making process because ethic is morality at societal level and we need some social principle to make ethical decision.

For example until and unless we[ public servant] do not believe in the principle of DEMOCRACY, JUSTICE, EQUALITY, etc we can’t take decision for the people which should be based on such ideals which is our basic governing principle, spirit of our constitution. same as LAW OF KARMA which means ”good deeds good fruits, bad deeds bad fruits” is found in all religion of the world as a principle to make ethical decision to perform their activity. Without an ethical system in place, all actions are equally acceptable and no one is safe from his neighbour. Ethics is not only important for interpersonal relations, but it is also important for the environment and the way animals are treated by humans.


A real life example of an IPS officer – whose dedication and ethical behaviour towards his duty made changes in the life of a common people.

Shivdeep Waman Lande

Shivdeep Waman Lande, Bihar IPS officer did an incredible job in handling the law and order situation Superintendent of Police in Araria, Purnia and Munger districts of Bihar, which were known for their notorious crime rates. He took upon criminals and goons, cosmetic mafia, eve teasers. When he was appointed as Superintendent of police in Patna, the crime rate of the capital dropped drastically.

Along with fulfilling his job duties, he also took out time to listen to and resolve problems faced by the general public. In fact, when he was transferred from Patna, the people of the city took out candlelight march against this government decision; which clearly shows his popularity among the general public.

Apart from fighting crime, he is also socially active in serving the community by donating 60% of his salary for to a social organization which arranges marriage for poor girls and hostels for poor students.


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