Govt. Officer Denied Half Day Leave To See Depressed Son Who Later Commits Suicide

This is the stuff of workplace nightmares. Rajesh Ghadge, an official working at the Agricultural Department in Mumbai got a panicked call from his son, asking him to come home. His son was suffering from depression, and said that he might end his life.

Ghadge requested his superior, additional chief secretary (ACS) Bhagwan Sahay to let him go home early. But incredibly, Sahay turned down his requests and made him work till regular office hours. Ghadge’s son ended up taking his own life.

“Ghadge’s 23-year-old son was desperately calling him to come back home and had threatened to commit suicide if he did not turn up,” a source told Hindustan Times. A distraught Ghadge was virtually on his knees as he got a second frantic call from his son. He once again approached Sahay pleading for mercy, but his pleas fell on deaf ears, the source added. “All that he got to hear again from Sahay was a ‘no’.”

His son’s body was eventually taken to Solapur, the native place of the Ghadge family, for the last rites. Other officers in the department rushed to meet Ghadge at his Solapur residence.

The Maharashtra government had ordered an enquiry. “I have spoken to Ghadge and had also asked state chief secretary to order an inquiry into the incident,” said minister of Agricultural Planning Pandurang Phundkar. Ghadge’s coworkers have staged a demonstration in protest.

The incident throws into light some of the questionable ways of how government organizations work. A near relentless obsession with policy and inflexibility are followed to the extent of being inhumane, and most times par logic. Hopefully, this unfortunate incident can be a wake up call for govt. officials to start thinking employee-first.