Man Not Guilty of Driving Employee to Suicide With Extra Work: SC

The victim’s wife said that the official would called him to work at odd hours & had stopped his salary for a month.

3 min read
The Supreme Court of India. 

The Supreme Court has quashed an FIR against a government official accused of overloading his colleague with work and driving him to commit suicide, saying the offence of abetting is made out only if a situation is deliberately created to compel a person to take his life.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit allowed the appeal of the accused officer of the Directorate of Education (DoE) of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, who was accused of abetting the suicide of his junior last year, against the Bombay High Court's decision refusing to quash the criminal proceedings against him.

According to the FIR filed by the victim's wife, the senior DoE official had overloaded her husband with work, called him at odd hours and stopped his salary for a month.

While the high court had refused to quash the FIR, the top court was of the view that facts of the case were insufficient to attract the offence of abetment of suicide.

“It is true that if a situation is created deliberately so as to drive a person to commit suicide, there would be room for attracting Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the IPC,” the judgement authored by Justice UU Lalit said.

However, the facts on record in the present case are completely inadequate and insufficient. As a superior officer, if some work was assigned by the applicant to the deceased, merely on that count it cannot be said that there was any guilty mind or criminal intent. The exigencies of work and the situation may call for certain action on part of a superior including stopping of salary of a junior officer for a month. 
Justice UU Lalit

The allegations in the FIR are completely inadequate and do not satisfy the requirements under Section 306 of the IPC, the bench held.

"We are of the firm view that the interest of justice demands that the proceedings initiated against the appellant are required to be quashed," it said.

The high court had on 23 January dismissed the senior official's appeal, saying “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 tremendous mental tension so as to drive the person to commit suicide, they can be said to be instigating the accused to commit suicide.
Bombay High Court

In the complaint lodged by the victim's wife, it was alleged that her husband was suffering from mental torture as his higher officers were loading him with work from 10 am to 10 pm and that her husband would be called at odd hours and even on holidays to get the work done.

She had alleged that the accused officer and one female officer had stopped his salary for a month and were threatening her husband that his increment would be stopped. Due to the pressure of work, the victim used to remain silent and committed suicide.

An FIR was lodged pursuant to the complaint on 9 August 2017 under Sections 306(abetment of suicide), 506 (criminal intimidation) in Aurangabad against the two officials.

The high court had, however, quashed the FIR against the woman officer.

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