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Superior not guilty if staff commit suicide due to heavy workload Says SC

By LawStreet News Network      27 June, 2018 12:21 PM      0 Comments

The Supreme Court in a recent judgment has ruled that the superiors cannot be held responsible for the abetment of the suicide of an employee as it cannot be assumed that superiors are of criminal bent of mind who have the intention to harass an employee or force him to commit suicide.

The matter came up in the SC when Kishore Parashar, who was a deputy director working at Aurangabad office of education in Maharashtra government, committed suicide in August 2017. Kishore Parashar’s wife filed a police complaint accusing her husband’s superior officer of abetting the suicide, she alleged that the superior used to give him heavy workload and also makes him to do work till late evening.

She said the superior use to call him for work during odd hours and also on holidays; he has also stopped the salary for a month and threatened to stop his increment. After Aurangabad police filed the FIR, the senior officer moved to Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay high court for quashing the FIR.

But on January 23rd, 2018 his plea was rejected by the High Court stating that “The facts indicate that there was no direct abetment and the applicants cannot have any intention that the deceased should commit suicide. Even when the accused persons have no such intention, if they create a situation causing mental tension to drive the person to commit suicide, they can be said to be instigating the accused to commit suicide.

When the senior officer appealed in the Supreme Court the plea was opposed by Nishant Katneswarkar standing counsel of the Maharashtra government.

The Supreme Court bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice U U Lalit found HC’s logic in roping in the superior officer on the charge of abetting suicide as illogical and quashed the FIR against the superior officer.

Justice U U Lalit, who authored the judgment, 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 Indian Penal Code, 1860 (abetment to suicide). However, the facts on record in the present case are inadequate and insufficient (to reach that conclusion).

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