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Unauthorised absence is serious misconduct: SC

Overstaying on leave enables employer to dismiss an employee as it amounts to serious misconduct, the Supreme Court has held.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 11:51 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Overstaying on leave or unauthorised absenteeism from the workplace enables the employer to dismiss an employee as it amounts to serious misconduct, the Supreme Court has held.

"Remaining absent for a long time, in our opinion, cannot be said to be a minor misconduct," a Bench comprising Justice SB Sinha and Justice PK Balasubramanyan said upholding the dismissal of an employee of North Eastern Karnataka RT Corp.

The employee was dismissed after departmental proceedings for remaining absent without any authorisation for around three years.

The Labour Court and the Karnataka High Court had partaken overstaying on leave and unauthorised absenteeism to the nature of minor offence.

However, differing with the view, the Bench referred to several previous apex court rulings on the issue and said the High Court judgement could not be sustained.

The apex court took into account that the state-owned company was providing public utility services by running a fleet of buses for which the service of conductor was imperative.

"No employer running a fleet of buses can allow an employee to remain absent for a long time," the Bench observed while perusing the record of the employee, a conductor, who was given opportunities to resume duties.

"In this view of the matter, it cannot be said that the misconduct committed by the employee has to be treated lightly," the Bench said.

First Published: May 21, 2006 11:51 IST

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