The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of Bharat Forge Company Ltd to terminate the services of one of its employees who had made a habit of sleeping during work hours.
Uttam Manohar Nakate, who worked as a helper, was found asleep at his workplace on August 26, 1983 at 1140 IST.
Disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him under the Industrial Employment Act, 1946.
He was found guilty and dismissed from service on January 17, 1984.
The internal inquiry took note of the fact that Nakate was earlier found sleeping during working hours thrice and was awarded minor punishments.
Complaining of unfair trade practices, he approached the Maharashtra Labour Court, which directed his reinstatement with 50 per cent back wages.
On an appeal, the Industrial Tribunal set aside the labour court order and upheld the dismissal.
But the Bombay high court reversed it and directed payment of a sum of Rs 2.5 lakh to the worker and his reinstatement.
Allowing the company's appeal, an SC bench comprising Justice N Santosh Hegde and Justice S B Sinha said, "... having regard to the past conduct of Nakate as also his conduct during domestic inquiry, we cannot say that the quantum of punishment imposed upon him was wholly disproportionate to his act of misconduct."