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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Pradeep Bhandari Detained at Khar Police Station - Infringement of Freedom of Expression??!!

“ऊपर से ऑर्डर आया है” (orders from above - from seniors) was being repeated again & again on the TV yesterday by Republic Channel, and this is not the first time. These statements were made by the police for justifying detention of Pradeep Bhandari a Consultant Editor at Republic Network Channel at the Khar Police station for more than 9 hours yesterday where he was interrogated and they also seized his personal phones.

It is a flimsy excuse, or maybe I think it flimsy, from my involvement with the Indian Navy. The Navy rules made it clear, thereby instilling confidence in the personnel, that they would not be punished simply because they did not obey an order. The act clarifies that an infringement of rules is committed only on “Wilful disobedience of a lawful order”. 

Should this not apply to politicians, bureaucrats, police and even corporate? It is a fact that some folks, some times, end up on the wrong side of stick because they thought it wiser to follow the boss’s instructions. Then, why wouldn’t organisations want this clause to be included in the policies. 

The no-retaliation policy touted by HR of various companies as their commitment to ethical behaviour is post-facto and though helps to a certain extent, does not give the freedom to say NO. Isn't this an infringement on our Right to Freedom of Expression? To simplify this, what it means is that when an order is "unlawful" then the persons or individuals who are entrusted with the task to carry out this "unlawful" order, must have the right to say NO, and thereafter should NOT be punished for doing so.

Incorporation of freedom to disobey an unlawful order in the policies is a must do for organisations committed to honesty, integrity & employee welfare. This would empower loyal & honest individuals who are devoted to the organisation. 

Is it too much to ask?? 

Article by Cdr. Varinder Taprial :- Retired Indian Navy Officer

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