A RECENT judgment by the Supreme Court provides security to an upright civil servant against the whimsical punitive action for not obeying illegal and unconstitutional orders of their political bosses.

They can now decline to implement illegal, arbitrary, corrupt and discretionary orders of their political masters.

It is true that a number of civil servants obey illegal and unconstitutional orders of their political masters. They do this because of a fear of provoking their wrath and thus loosing a lucrative and comfortable posts and becoming an OSD or being assigned a difficult posting.

There have been and still are some fine and upright civil servants who do the ‘right thing’ without caring for the repercussions.

The apex court judgment will go a long way in improving the performance of the civil servants by giving them legal cover to decline unconstitutional and irregular orders.

But I am afraid lack of security of service is not the only restraining factor for all civil servants in doing the ‘right thing’. It is also the mindset of sycophancy, opportunism and corruption which works in a lot of cases not only in civil services but also in our average middle and upper class members of society whether they belong to public service, politics, or private sector.

There is no doubt many other nations also suffer from the same maladies, but in our land of pure sycophancy, corruption, nepotism and hypocrisy have become a sure route to success.

Unlike developed countries, merit, hard work, integrity and brilliance count very little here. The pedigree, political affiliation, clan and wealth along with the ability to please your superiors, not through hard work and honesty, but by sycophancy and corruption determine your chances of progress and status in society.

However, we must not lose hope at least we are slowly becoming aware that it is not such a bad idea to be correct, just, truthful and honest to build ourselves and our nation.

ZAHEER AHMED Islamabad

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