‘Misconduct’ has been defined in Black’s Law Dictionary (6th Edn.), at p. 999:
“A transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction from duty, unlawful behaviour, wilful in character, improper or wrong behaviour, its synonyms are misdemeanour, misdeed, misbehaviour, delinquency, impropriety, mismanagement, offence, but not negligence or carelessness.”
P. Ramanatha Aiyar, Law Lexicon (1987), at p. 821 defines ‘misconduct’ thus:
“The term misconduct implies a wrongful intention, and not a mere error of judgment. In usual parlance, misconduct means a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, where no discretion is left, except what necessity may demand and carelessness, negligence and unskilfulness are transgressions of some established, but indefinite, rule of action, where some discretion is necessarily left to the actor. Misconduct is a violation of definite law…
The word misconduct though not capable of precise definition, on reflection receives its connotation from the context, the delinquency in its performance and its effect on the discipline and the nature of the duty. It may involve moral turpitude, it must be improper or wrong behaviour; unlawful behaviour, wilful in character; forbidden act, a transgression of established and definite rule of action or code of conduct but not mere error of judgment, carelessness or negligence in performance of the duty; the act complained of bears forbidden quality or character. Its ambit has to be construed with reference to the subject-matter and the context wherein the term occurs, regard being had to the scope of the statute and the public purpose it seeks to serve.”
Also, see State of Punjab v. Ram Singh, Ex-Constable, (1992) 4 SCC 54; Noratanmal Chouraria v. M.R. Murli, (2004) 5 SCC 689 & Orissa Olympic Association v. State of Orissa, [Civil Appeal No. 6450 of 2016].