CHENNAI:THE Madras High Court has ordered that status quo be maintained with regard to certain provisions of the scheme which merged five subsidiary banks with the parent State Bank of India.
The provisions coming under the status-quo related to terminal benefits, pension and seniority of the migrant employees.
Justice T Raja granted the injunction while passing orders on a writ petition from J Murali of Virugambakkam and 16 others, all employees of State Bank of Mysore.
The other four subsidiary banks which merged with SBI by an order dated February 22 last of the Union government are State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur and State Bank of Patiala.
The writ petition sought to declare clauses 7 and 8 of the Acquisition of the State Bank of Mysore order dated February 22 of the Chairman of SBI read with the ‘offer of employment in SBI’ with annexure dated March 29 of the Chief General Manager (HR), as illegal and unconstitutional to the extent of imposing new conditions of service and option on the officers/employees of the subsidiary banks without negotiation and consent and for a direction to the duo to seek such option from the migrants.
Their interim prayer is to stay the operation of clauses 7 and 8 of the order dated February 22. The acquisition order compels the petitioners to work under new conditions of service under a new employer without a pre-decisional hearing and on undisclosed terms and conditions. To this extent clause 7 is unfair, unreasonable and unconstitutional, petitioners contended.
The petitioners are compelled to work under the SBI when clause 7 says ‘shall continue to work in accordance therewith’. Thus, there is in effect no option given to the petitioners to chose the conditions of service. Hence, the option mentioned in clause 8 without disclosing the conditions of service is an eye-wash. The petitioners have not been given any choice and these two clauses are wholly onerous and hence violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution, petitioners contended.
The judge, however, ordered that status-quo be maintained in respect of the clauses dealing with terminal benefits, pension and seniority alone.