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.