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Boss not liable for employee’s suicide: SC

New Delhi: If an employee commits suicide and even if it is assumed that he was wronged by the superior officer, the latter cannot be tried for abetting the suicide, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The apex court said there has to be clear evidence to say that the accused had instigated or conspired with someone to abet the suicide.

“We may say that merely because a person had a grudge against his superior officer and committed suicide on account of that grudge, even honestly feeling that he was wronged, it would still not be a proper allegation for basing the charge under Section 306 IPC,” a Bench of Justices V S Sirpurkar and Cyriac Joseph said in a judgement.

Section 306 refers to abetment of suicide which carries a punishment of imprisonment upto 10 years.

One comment

  1. The learned Judges observed, “If the prosecutions are allowed to continue on such basis, it will be difficult for every superior officer even to work.”
    It is unfortunate that the Court failed to recognise the international labour issue of bullycide. Workplace bullying is recognised all over the civilised world as the greatest threat to employees, and by causing consequent reduction of productivity, to employers. There are specific laws abroad against such bullying and it is deemed violence in the workplace. One is reminded of the various Judgements in the UK, USA and Australia where bullied employees have been protected and awarded compensation. The Indiana Supreme Court ruling of 2008 that awarded a compensation of $ 32500 to a nurse for being bullied into illness by a Doctor is only one of them.
    It is likely that Indian courts might also afford the attention it deserves to workplace bullying in the future; but by then, thousands of lives might be lost in the new capital-oriented environment. As in the West, we too must legislate on workplace bullying, without delay. One hopes that the Unions and the media would look into this.

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