“There is a Supreme Court which is greater than the Apex Court, which is called the Court of Conscience. It is the senior-most of all the Courts.”
This statement of Mahatma Gandhi tells the importance of the voice of conscience in our private and public life. Let us understand this with an example-
You are standing at a traffic signal. Right now there is only red light and you have seen that neither the police is watching nor you are in the range of the camera. Converting the negligence of the system into an opportunity, you defied the red light and broke the signal. You are not getting bloated by breaking the law and saving a little bit of your time.
Meanwhile, a voice comes from inside that you have done this wrong! You scold the inner self, try to silence it but it is not ready to understand. Eventually you feel a sense of guilt.
A common man suffers from such guilt several times in his life. At such times, you should listen to your inner voice. Conscience is a moral sense which helps you to choose between right and wrong.
It was the voice of conscience that forced Mahatma Gandhi to withdraw the non-cooperation movement. In fact, during this movement, an incident called Chauri Chaura happened, which Gandhiji found contrary to his way of working and decided to withdraw the movement with immediate effect.
An administrative officer has to deal with such ethical dilemmas many times while taking a decision. In such a situation, only the voice of conscience gives him moral strength. The voice of conscience is a by-product of our upbringing, school education, college education and also all the teachings we get from the society which creates a moral system within us.
The Preamble of our Constitution, Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy also act as the voice of conscience during law making. It is also called the basic spirit of the constitution. That is, the laws made to run the governance and administration of the country of India should be consistent with these basic sentiments of the constitution.
( DIRECTOR – OJAANK IAS )