Question: Explain significance of conscience in public service with relevant examples.
Answer: Conscience is a capacity, intuition or decision that helps to distinguish right from wrong. It leads to a feeling of remorse when an individual commits actions that go against his moral values and feeling of pleasure when thoughts and actions are in line with the values.
It is central to our identity and acts as component in moral decision making process. If conscience goes, everything will collapse.
Significance of conscience in public service
- Identify correct and wrong
An individual’s conscience acts as a decision system for identifying correct and wrong. If conscience is in confirmation of a action, it means that such an act is valid and correct. A strong conscience will not allow wrong action to be performed.
Ex: If a public official is morally charged with high integrity, his conscience will tell him that accepting bribes is wrong and he will avoid it.
- Development of moral values
Moral values can usually be the foundations for right conscience but the reverse can also happen. Eventhough an individual may not be morally upright, a right conscience can enable development of moral values in an individual.
- Development of positive attitude
Positive values such as honesty, integrity, hard work etc can be invoked through right conscience. When an individual is able to decide what is wrong and right through his intuition, he can also know which characteristics help him in developing such conscience.
Ex: A public official using his conscience to know what is correct and wrong to perform duties with honesty and integrity.
- Tackle dilemma
Conscience can sometimes be handy while tackling dilemma during discharge of duties. It will help in recognising whetheran action will result in violation of professional integrity. It can also guide an individual in choosing the correct course of action.
Ex: Helping Police official to choose between his duty of dispensing justice or saving murder accused son of a best friend.
Thus, conscience is critical for evaluating the correct course of action by a public official. It is instant and helps in deciding fast without the need to have extensive knowledge of ethical conduct.