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Sunday, October 13, 2013

SBI tenders apology in contempt case against former chief

State Bank of India has tendered an unconditional apology in the Madras High Court in a contempt of court case involving Pratip Chaudhuri who retired as Chairman on September 30.

The court had summoned Chaudhuri for a personal appearance on his last day in office, but at the request of the bank’s counsel, was given 10 days until Thursday to comply.

The case involved the summary withdrawal by the bank of the ‘check off’ facility extended to its officers associations.

This had provided a lifeline to the associations in the form of individual subscriptions from salary accounts of member-officers routed to its account by the bank.

The management ensured that subscriptions ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 200 per employee went into the association’s account on the 25{+t}{+h} of every month, the salary payment day.

While tendering an apology, the bank assured the court that the amount to be collected as ‘check off’ for September will be debited to the bank’s system suspense account and credited to the respective circle associations’ account.

Justice N. Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court also passed an order that this credit should be made on or before October 15. The check off facility requires that at the time of joining, every employee gives a standing instruction in writing, authorising the bank to deduct the sum from his/her salary account.

The bank management had chosen to withdraw the facility suggesting to members of the unions that they pay up their subscriptions individually.

Writ petition

After negotiations failed, the association of the Chennai circle filed a writ petition on September 23. Justice Kirubakaran stayed the impugned order of the bank.

The All-India State Bank Officers Federation filed another writ petition the next day, following which the court made the stay applicable to the entire country.

Though the Chennai circle of the bank implemented the court’s order, the corporate centre in Mumbai refused to enforce it in other circles.

This is what triggered the contempt petition against Pratip Chaudhuri and Ranjit Goswami, chief general manager (human resources) of the bank.

D. Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, General Secretary, filed the petition for the Chennai Circle Officers Association while Y. Sudharshan did the same on behalf of the Federation.

Source: thehindubusinessline


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