HomeNewsArchitect can't be held responsible onsite deaths

Architect can’t be held responsible onsite deaths

A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna of Karnataka High Court recently quashed criminal proceedings pending against an architect, observing that it would be too far to stretch Section 304A of the IPC to contend that a person who had designed the house is responsible for death of a worker while undertaking construction under a contractor. Section 304A penalises causing death by negligence.

The petitioner, an Architect Engineer by profession, had designed the house for one of his clients. The construction of the building and the plan of action for such construction was entrusted to a contractor by the client. While undertaking construction in the site an employee by who was working under the contractor died due to electrocution. The police filed their chargesheet against the petitioner under Section 304A r/w 34 of the IPC while dropping the owner out of the chargesheet.

The judge observed, “The petitioner, as stated earlier, is an Architect who had designed the building and had given it to the owner in terms of the agreement. The owner had entrusted the work of construction to accused No.1 (contractor) under whom the worker on the day working and the unfortunate incident of his death happened. It cannot be said that the design of the house by the petitioner was an act of rash or negligence that had caused the death of the worker.”

It was contended that the allegation for offence punishable under Section 304A IPC cannot be laid against the petitioner, as the petitioner was only an Architect who designed the house and it was for the contractor or the owner of the property to have taken such caution to prevent such mishap viz., death of the employee. The complainant on the other hand argued that the design provided by the petitioner was the cause for the death of the worker and would submit that since the chargesheet is filed, it is for the petitioner to come out clean.

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