Death Caused Due To Overwork & Toxic Work Environment Is A Social Problem Which Requires Appropriate Policies: Observes Delhi HC
The Delhi High Court has observed that death caused due to overwork and toxic work environment is a social problem that requires the government, labour unions, health officials and corporates to formulate appropriate policies.
The Court emphasized the need for examination of the issues of overwork and occupational stress focusing on mental health at workplace.
“…death caused due to overwork and toxic work environment is a social problems which requires the government, the labour unions, the health officials and corporates to formulate appropriate policies. What is needed is an examination of the issues of overwork and occupational stress focusing on mental health at workplace.”, the bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh observed.
The Court pointed out that the government of Japan has acknowledged deaths caused on account of hostile working environment as a socio-economic problem.
“In Japan, there is a term used for the same called „karoshi‟ which means „overwork deaths,‟ i.e., a large number of deaths caused on account of hostile working environment which causes physical and mental stress. The government of Japan acknowledged this as a socio-economic problem and not a criminal offence. Subsequently, the government of Japan has drafted policies that address mental health in workplaces”, the Court observed.
The Court made these observations while dealing with a plea seeking anticipatory bail for offence of abetment to suicide.
In this case, FIR was registered against three persons of a company on the grounds that they pressurized and abetted a woman to commit suicide.
The counsel for the complainant stated that the applicant failed to forward the complaint made by the deceased, and/or take any corrective measures on the said e-mail.
Senior Advocate Ramesh Gupta appeared for the applicant whereas APP Ajay Vikram Singh appeared for State and Advocate R. Ramachandran appeared for the complainant.
The Court observed that “There is nothing on record or shown to me which shows that the applicant was mandated in law to be legally bound to act on the mail of 12.04.2020. At best not acting on the email of 12.04.2020 and 13.08.2019 sent by the deceased may be a dereliction of duty or a casual approach by the applicant but cannot by any stretch mean to be an illegal omission under Section 107 IPC.”
The Court noted that no circumstances were created by the Applicant which prompted the deceased to commit suicide.
Thus the Court granted anticipatory bail to the applicant.
Cause Title-V K Kanjlia v. State NCT of Delhi