I would deliberate on the peculiar case of Dahyaji Gobarji Vanzara, Gujarat’s “encounter specialist” and an Indian Police Service officer who is in jail on charges of fake encounters. His key defence is that he and the other officers were only following the unsaid policy of the Gujarat government on ‘encounters’ and had now been left in the lurch.
From a managerial view-point, what should a subordinate do if he feels what is being asked from him, explicitly or implicitly, by the higher ups is not correct or legal? I feel he has the following options :
1. Take a determined stand not to act as asked and seek a transfer or exit.
2. Follow the instructions.
3. Put in writing his disagreement with the course of action and escalate to higher ups, if necessary.
Assuming what Vanzara says is true, he followed option 2.
The most recommended action is option 3. If a written record of the internal debate on a course of action is created, responsibly for an action becomes determinable later. Vanzara cannot complain now.
It is just that option 3 needs more courage than that required in options 1 and 2. Only those willing to bear the consequences of showing that courage remain unscathed in their careers.