Q) “The trusteeship relationship between the public and the officials requires that the authority entrusted to the officials be exercised in the best interest of the people. Examine the statement with examples in the light of standards to be followed by public official with public interest as their top priority.”
In a democracy, every holder of public office is accountable ultimately to the people. Our legal system emanates from a shared vision of what is good and just. Ethics provides the basis for the creation of such laws and rules. The public interest is about what matters to everyone in society. It is about the common good, the general welfare and the security and well-being of everyone in the community we serve.
Standards to be followed by public official with public interest as their top priority
- Selflessness: Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of public interest.
- Integrity: Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organizations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.
- Objectivity: In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
- Accountability: Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
- Openness: Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
- Honesty: Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
- Leadership: Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
Public interest plays an important role in designing rules and regulations for officials. These rules and regulations have to be kept in mind while carrying out functions as a public official. Sometimes public interest cannot be followed due to certain conditions. These have to be taken into consideration while designing rules and procedures.