The case was filed by A. Jayakumar, General Secretary of State Banks’ Staff Union, Kerala Circle, in February.
IMPORT OF ACT
Hearing in the case resumed on Monday, and had come for final argument on Wednesday.
Counsels Vaidyanathan S., H. Ganapathy and Jimmy George appeared for the union while George Thomas Mevada represented SBI.
Sources told Business Line that the counsels argued at length on the import of various provisions of the SBI Act, 1955, for three days from Monday.
The counsel appearing for the Union Government was directed to file a statement within two weeks on whether procedures enunciated under Sections 50 (1), 50 (2)(o) and 50 (4) of the Act have been followed by SBI while notifying the pension scheme.
The writ had originally prayed for directions to revert those recruited on or after August 1, 2010, the threshold date fixed by the bank, back to existing pension scheme.
An interim order issued by the court had directed that amounts contributed by employees towards the pension fund be kept in a separate account and maintained with the trustee bank.
The petitioner had pointed out that the scheme was being implemented as part of the industry-level bipartite wage settlement.
As per this, Defined Contribution Pension Scheme (DCPS)/NPS would apply to those joining services on or after April 1, 2010.
But this settlement between Indian Banks’ Association and unions of other banks would not apply to SBI. It was not party to this settlement insofar as pension-related matters were concerned.
The Act did not empower the central board to amend pension fund rules, and that too with retrospective effect. Any regulation framed in this manner will have to be laid before Parliament.
It will take effect in the existing or modified form as decided by both the Houses of Parliament only.
In the present case, the central board of the bank had taken a unilateral decision to modify the pension scheme.
Legal recourse was also being sought on grounds that the pension scheme once framed could be modified without issuing notice.