The Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of Punjab V/s Ram Singh Ex. Constable [AIR 1992 SC 2188] held that misconduct can involve moral turpitude, improper or wrongful behavior, willful in character, doing a forbidden act, or transgression of well-established rules of action or code of conduct. Misconduct, however, cannot include a mere error of judgment, carelessness or negligence in performance of duty.

Further, The Model Standing Orders provides inter alia the following instances that constitute misconduct:

(a)   Willful insubordination or disobedience of any lawful and reasonable order of a superior;

(b)   Going on an illegal strike or abetting, inciting or acting in furtherance thereof;

(c)    Theft, fraud or dishonesty of the employers business or property;

(d)   Willful damage or loss to employers goods or property;

(e)   Taking or giving bribes;

(f)     Habitual breach of any law applicable to the industrial establishment;

(g)   Riotous or disorderly behavior during working hours at the industrial establishment;

(h)   Habitual negligence or neglect of work;

(i)     Repetition of any act or omission for which fine may be imposed to a maximum of 2% of the monthly wages;

(j)     Striking work or inciting others to strike work in contravention of the provision of any law; and

(k)    Sexual harassment.

Where the State government has not prescribed standing orders, misconduct will depend up on the facts and circumstances of the particular case.


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