That said, it is amazing that it took close to 22 years to get a definite verdict. The employee in question, Uttam Nakate, was found asleep at 11:40 in the morning, at his factory workplace. It was the fourth occasion this had happened and he’d got off till then with minor punishment. The company began disciplinary proceedings under the Industrial Employment Act, 1946 and after five months, in January 1984, found him guilty and dismissed him from service. Nakate appealed to the state (Maharashtra) labour court, contending the dismissal came under the category of an unfair trade practice. The labour court directed he be reinstated, with 50% back wages.
The company appealed to an industrial tribunal, which struck down the court order. Nakate proceeded to the Bombay High Court, which directed payment of Rs 2.5 lakh to Nakate and his reinstatement. From there, it went to the Supreme Court. Where two judges pondered and decided “we cannot say the quantum of punishment imposed was wholly disproportionate to his act of
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