Case Study Ethics
A jawan in the Indian Army is extremely disillusioned with his present
working conditions. Stationed at a high-altitude border post, he struggles
with the hostile weather, the risk of enemy gunfire and the stress of
constantly being in a state of high alertness. Such stress if further
compounded by the poor living conditions and a very meagre, often
He approaches his seniors on multiple occasions, but they offer him only
superficial assurances, with no concrete solution to any of his problems. In
a moment of frustration, he makes a video wherein he describes the
hardships being faced by the soldiers and the apathy of the higher officials.
He then posts the video online, where it soon goes viral, attracting
international viewership and attention.
i) Do you believe he was correct in releasing this video in the open public
ii) What are the ethical issues involved in this case?
iii) What corrective actions would you suggest to prevent any such
incidents in the future?
(300 words – 25 marks)
No, he was not correct. I sympathize with the hostile working environment he
works in and the indifference he faces from his superiors. But given the fact that
his action may be seen as representative of the sentiments of all armed forces
personnel, it was a potentially disastrous step to take.
The error of his actions can be better understood by considering the ethical
issues involved in his action:
i) It has a detrimental impact on the morale of all armed forces personnel,
accentuating their dissatisfaction and dampening their willingness to do their
ii) It dilutes the authority of senior officers in commanding their forces and may
even lead to increased incidents of fratricide.
iii) It shakes public trust/confidence in the dedication and abilities of the armed
iv) It provides fodder to the propaganda machinery of other nations, to use in
further demoralizing our troops.
However, it would not be fair to assess the ethical issues without considering
them from the perspective of the senior officers of the army. These include:
i) A self-centered and apathetic attitude of the officers in ignoring the plight of
their own subordinates, leaving them with no option but to take drastic steps.
ii) The apparent lack of an appropriate grievance redressal mechanism through
which jawans can voice their problems and expect a meaningful resolution.
In these circumstance, the corrective actions that can be suggested
i) Disciplinary action against the jawan for a breach of duties. This is especially
important to discourage similar actions by others in the future.
ii) Strict enquiry and action against officers whom this jawan had approached, who
chose to dismiss his concerns with sheer indifference.
iii) A thorough review of the working and living conditions of our jawans, with timebound implementation of appropriate improvements.
iv) Establishment of an appropriate grievance redressal mechanism so that similar incidents can be promptly identified and addressed.