Ethics Case Study-17: Decision Making, Objectivity.
Mihir is a new Panchayat secretary. Within few days he got a circular which said that he should soon conduct Grama Sabha to finalize the action plan of MGNREGA. Action plan contains the list of works to be undertaken in the villages and their estimated expenditures. This should be decided in the Grama Sabha and the decision of Gram Sabha is immutable.
The Gram Sabha was held and chairman, all elected members, officer in-charge,engineer, people from villages debated and finally listed important works to be undertaken and the estimated expenditure was decided there itself.
Next, this plan had to be approved in the Panchayat meeting and sent to Tehsil for further approval for sanction of funds. The chairman of Panchayat, who was also a class-I contractor, met Mihir and asked him to manipulate the funds estimates. Even few members who themselves were small time contractors and who had previously used machines in MGNREGA scheme to finish works and draw money, joined Chairman in demanding manipulation of the action plan.
Mihir strongly objected to this. On the day of meeting, which was a closed door meeting inside the Panchayat office, he was manhandled by some members in the office after he resisted their attempt to snatch the action plan and manipulate it, and was threatened that if he didn’t act according to their orders, he would be thrashed again and again. Someone outside called the police. But when police arrived, the chairman alleged that Panchayat secretary behaved in an indecent manner with female members hence he was thrashed. Female members seconded this allegation.
Mihir was taken to police station. Police refused to accept his version of the incident, which was true. He was helpless at the moment.
You are his superior officer (BDO). Mihir contacts you and tells you his part of the story. At the same time, Panchayat members narrate their version. How will you proceed from here?