The Gujarat HC has observed that an employer scolding its employee
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The Gujarat HC has observed that an employer scolding its employee – to maintain discipline in the office would not amount to the former abetting the suicide of the latter and it would not constitute an offense within the fold of Section 306 of IPC.


Justice Nirzar Desai further held that if bona fide action of maintaining discipline in the office is registered as an offense under Section 306 IPC, then it would pose a threat to all employers. It observed,


” When an employee is scolded just with a view to maintain office discipline and out of fear or being hypersensitive, if an employee commits suicide, that would not constitute an offence attracting provisions of Section 306 of Indian Penal Code as the action taken by the employer was in good faith to maintain office discipline. “

In the instant case, the Petitioners were employers of the complainant’s daughter, who committed suicide days after being admonished for attending the function held by their client during office hours. They sought to quash the FIR for offenses under Sections 306 and 114 of IPC.


The complainant alleged that his daughter committed suicide by hanging herself due to ‘harassment being meted out to her’ by the Applicants. It was claimed that the Applicants had scolded the employee for attending a function during office hours and threatened her that legal action would taken against her, and her license would be suspended.


The Applicants relied on Vaijnath Knodiba Khandke vs. the State of Maharasthra and another to argue that the ingredients of Section 306 were not made out in the instant case. Further, if the employer intended to maintain discipline in the offense, it would not amount to instigation or abetment in committing suicide.


The Gujarat HC has observed that an employer scolded its employee – there was no suicide note implicating the applicants.

The Bench noted that the alleged incident occurred on 23.06.2020 but she committed suicide after a week. Moreover, the FIR was registered a further nine days thereafter.


The Bench was of the view that had the applicants been instrumental in the suicide of the deceased person, in that case, the deceased would have taken that drastic action immediately (not after a week). Further, there was no suicide note implicating the applicants.


It also referred to Vaijnath Knodiba Khandke (supra), where it was held that exigencies of work and the situation may call for certain action on part of a superior…that action simplicity cannot be considered to be a pointer against such superior officer for the offense of abetment of suicide.


Keeping the above in view, Justice Desai concluded:


“If an employer on finding the employee breaching the discipline of office, asks the employee that legal action would be taken against concerned employee and if after few days, the concerned employee commits suicide, it cannot be said that the threat to take legal action was given with a criminal intent to instigate the employee to commit suicide.”


Accordingly, the application was admitted.



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