Heavy Workload & Erratic Schedule Can't Be Considered As Abetment To Suicide By Boss: SC
The Supreme Court has ruled that superiors cannot be held responsible if an employee commits suicide because of heavy workload, as it can’t be assumed that he/she intended to harass an employee or force him to end his life.
This ruling by the SC came as it rejected the argument of the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay HC that the officer should be held responsible even if there was no direct abetment because the stressful workload could lead to unbearable mental tension, as reported by The Hindu
As reported by Times of India, Kishor Parashar, who worked in the office of the deputy director of education in Maharashtra government, in their Aurangabad office, committed suicide in August 2017. His wife later complained to the police against her husband’s superior officer, accusing him of abetting the suicide. She alleged that the superior used to assign a heavy workload to Parashar, requiring him to work till late evening, which led to his mental breakdown and suicide.
According to the wife, the senior officer often mentally tortured her husband and regularly created extreme work conditions making it unbearable for Parashar. She also alleged that the officer stopped her late husband’s salary. Following the complaint, an FIR was lodged against the official, who later moved the local bench of the Bombay High Court to quash this FIR.
As per reports, on January 23, the Bombay High Court decided that the FIR could not be quashed and that the case should come under IPC Section 306. The HC observed that, although the senior officer didn’t have any such intention, cases where the victims are deliberately forced to work under extreme conditions which in turn force them to take extreme step as suicide, can come under the abetment of suicide.
After the HC observation, the senior official named in the FIR approached the Supreme Court. Nishant Katneswarkar, the Maharashtra government’s standing counsel, had appealed to the SC that the case should be dismissed as the senior officer had no intention to force the victim to commit suicide. The SC bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice UU Lalit termed the HC observation as untenable and rejected the FIR. The bench said, “It is true that if a situation is created deliberately, to drive a person to commit suicide, there would be room for attracting Section 306 of the IPC (abetment to suicide). However, the facts on record in the present case are inadequate and insufficient (to reach that conclusion).”