Employee entitled to compensation although there was misconduct for his long service : Bombay HC on reducing the compensation amount

TITLE : Raptakos Breet & Company Ltd v Gajanan M. Sonawane

CORAM : Hon’ble Justice Sandeep V. Marne

DATE :  22nd  December, 2023

CITATION : WP No 550 of 2020


The petitioner employer has filed a petition challenging the judgement and order passed by Second Labour Court in directing payment of 60% backwages to respondent till his age of superannuation. Petitioner is a pharmaceutical company and the respondent was employed in the services of petitioner company. The respondent was found loitering in the change room instead of being present at his workplace and was chewing tobacco which is strictly prohibited. He was also found verbally abusing other members of the company. Subsequently an inquiry was done and he was dismissed from service. The respondent approached labour court and held that the enquiry was not done in a fair and proper manner according to the principles of natural justice. Furthermore, the court awarded the respondent with 50% backwages till superannuation from the date of termination.


44. INDUSTRIAL COURT TO EXERCISE SUPERINTENDENCE OVER LABOUR COURTS. – The Industrial Court shall have superintendence over all Labour Courts and may, –

(a) call for returns;

(b) make and issue general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the practice and procedure of such Courts in matters not expressly provided for by this Act and in particular, for securing the expeditious disposal of cases;

(c) prescribe form in which books, entries and accounts shall be kept by officers of any such Courts; and

(d) settle a table of fees payable for process issued by a Labour Court or the Industrial Court.


Whether the labour court was right in passing the award for backwages when the respondent is a repeat offender of labour rules in the company?


The court held that under Section 44 of the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions & Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act, 1971, this court cannot sit on appeal over the said findings. The role of the court is strictly restricted to find whether there is any lack in the findings recorded by the Labour Court or Industrial Court.

The court after going through the list of offences held that the petitioners were only able to prove 2 of the three offences mentioned. The respondent had served with the petitioner for a substantial period of time. He had attained superannuation a in the year 2017. Loss of wage was from 2014 to 2017.

The court held that the Respondent undoubtedly deserves same penalty for misconduct of missing from duty and threatening and abusing a co-employee for the courts decision to pay only 50% backwages.

The court held that lump sum compensation would be adequate relief to the respondent instead of depriving him from wages.  

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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