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  • In India, civil service values have evolved over years of tradition. These values also find place in various rules, including the Code of Conduct.
  • The current set of ‘enforceable norms’ are `Conduct Rules’, typified by the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules – 1964 and analogous rules applicable to members of the All India Services or employees of various State Governments.
  • The code of behaviour as enunciated in the Conduct Rules, while containing some general norms like `maintaining integrity and absolute devotion to duty’ and not indulging in ‘conduct unbecoming of a government servant’, are generally directed towards cataloguing specific activities deemed undesirable for government servants.
  • There is no Code of Ethics prescribed for civil servants in India although such Codes exist in other countries.

A comprehensive Civil Service Code can be conceptualized at three levels. At the apex level, there should be a clear and concise statement of the values and ethical standards that a civil servant should imbibe.

These values should reflect public expectations from a civil servant with reference to political impartiality, maintenance of highest ethical standards and accountability for actions.

At the second level, the broad principles which should govern the behaviour of a civil servant may be outlined. This would constitute the Code of Ethics.

At the third level, there should be a specific Code of Conduct stipulating in a precise and unambiguous manner, a list of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and actions.

The values and the Code of Ethics should be given a statutory backing by including them in the proposed Civil Services Bill.                                    PROPOSED GUIDELINES FOR CIVIL SERVANTS

In addition to commitment to the Constitution these values should include:

  • Adherence to the highest standards of probity, integrity and conduct
  • Impartiality and non-partisanship
  • Objectivity
  • Commitment to the citizens’ concerns and public good
  • Empathy for the vulnerable and weaker sections of society.

These values, per se, may not be enforceable. But a mechanism may be put in place so that efforts are made, particularly, by those in leadership positions, for inculcating these values in all persons in their organisation.




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