Think Learn & Perform (TLP)

The Only Dedicated Platform for UPSC Mains Answer Writing

Day 59 – Q 5.With the help of suitable examples illustrate the manner in which laws, rules and regulations act as sources of ethical guidance.

5. With the help of suitable examples illustrate the manner in which laws, rules and regulations act as sources of ethical guidance. 

उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से समझाएं कि कैसे विधि, नियम और विनियम नैतिक मार्गदर्शन के स्रोतों के रूप में कार्य करते हैं।


The individual in society achieves his quantum and standards of morality and ethics from two sources-from within himself and from without. While that which arises from within may be the more valid, yet from its nature it is weaker and less influential in each individual case than the standards and the influence and knowledge thereof that he receives from external sources. 


 “The law is an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by him who has care for society.”

                              – St. Thomas Aquinas  

  • Law is considered as a set of declared principles intended to secure justice for the individual and to promote peace and provide for the general welfare of the community. Laws are written in specific code so that they can be interpreted as required. 
  • Rules are made by firms and individuals. Rules are codes of conduct that are designed for specific situations, similar to customs but have immense importance because there is usually a punishment related with them. 
  • A regulation is a legal standard that has intention to shape conduct that is a by-product of imperfection. A regulation may be used to recommend or ban conduct, to standardise incentives or to change preferences.
  • The laws and rules ensure that each individual must follow a set of guidelines and if/she ends up breaking any of those rules they must accept the consequences no matter their social standing or position. The laws and rules used to retain smooth and efficient functioning of the society.
  • Regulation are of various types such as legal restrictions promulgated by a government authority, contractual obligations that bind many parties. Regulations are generally set by the executive for smooth functioning of the laws.
  • Rules are also enforced by the person that is making the rule. For example, rules created in a household are enforced by the parent that created the rules.
  • Similarly, rules established in a classroom are enforced by the teacher or the school administration. Rules enacted inside the household differ from the rules enacted inside the classroom. This is because rules are more detailed guidelines and must be changed depending on the situation.
  • These measures help shape the individual and societal morality and consequently ethics towards such a scenario. For example, Japan and most of the east asian nations have laws and regulations towards respecting traditional aspects in society which makes the persons and society having such an ethical outlook.
  • Many people often believe that rules that are established in childhood helps a person to understand laws that are created by the government and also makes him follow the laws strictly.
  • The constitution of any country becomes an essential source of ethical guidance for its citizens as it shapes the general ethical outlook expected of its citizens. Indian constitution is such an ethical guide for treating people equally without discrimination.
  • For people who work in government and nonprofit organizations, duty has a special importance. They must serve the public, fulfill the expectations of public office, and be trustees of public resources. These are the actions required by their occupation or role independent of but reinforced by other ethical considerations. The ethics of public administrators begins with and is grounded in duty.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is one of the laws which plays a positive role in developing a philanthropic ethic in people where the corporate world is defined by the pursuit of money. 

Laws can also affect ethics in people’s opposition to it. If proper conditions are absent, citizens need not obey a particular civil law. This is the argument favoring civil disobedience, which was propounded by Mahatma Gandhi in India during India’s struggle for independence. Such a movement shaped the larger ethics of society during that period.


Neither the external not internal sources can alone provide a perfect solution for ethical conduct in a society where a combination of multiple factors become the sources of ethical guidance which should be further studied and focused upon.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email