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Principles of Code of Ethics in Public Life

Principles of Code of Ethics in Public Life

The seven principles of public life enunciated by the Nolan Committee in UK can be highlighted here.

Drawing from these, inclusion of the following principles in the Code of Ethics for civil servants in India can be suggested:


  • Civil servants should be guided solely by public interest in their official decision making and not by any financial or other consideration either in respect of themselves, their families or their friends.
  • The public officers must not hold office of profit. They have not conduct any beneficial business outside of their office or inside on their personal interest.                  Principles of Code of Ethics in Public Life


  • Civil servants in carrying out their official work,   including functions like procurement, recruitment, delivery of services etc, should take decisions based on merit

Commitment to public service:

  • Civil servants should deliver services in a fair, effective, impartial and courteous manner.

Open accountability:

  • Civil servants are accountable for their decisions and actions and should be willing to subject themselves to appropriate scrutiny for this purpose.
  • Public officials are ultimately accountable to the public, to ensure this it is  necessary that they are open to any scrutiny.            Principles of Code of Ethics in Public Life

Devotion to duty:

  • Civil servants maintain absolute and unstinting devotion towards their duties and responsibilities at all times.

Exemplary behaviour:

  • Civil servants shall treat all members of the public with respect and courtesy and, at all times, should behave in a manner that upholds the rich traditions of the civil services.

At the third level are a set of specific guidelines regulating the conduct of civil servants.

As mentioned the present Conduct Rules regulate the behaviour of civil servants. Although these constitute a very comprehensive and wide ranging set of guidelines, they suffer from many shortcomings and anomalies.          Principles of Code of Ethics in Public Life