Reimbursement for foreign travel not an absolute right for SBI officers: Madras HC

The judge said the facility extended to get reimbursement of foreign travel expenses, was given by way of an additional facility through a letter and the same was cancelled.

Published: 28th June 2022 10:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2022 03:10 PM   |  A+A-

Madras HC

Madras High Court building. (File Photo | EPS)

By PTI

CHENNAI: Reimbursement for foreign travels is not an absolute right conferred on the officers of the State Bank of India (SBI), the Madras High Court has ruled.

Justice S M Subramaniam gave the ruling on June 24 while dismissing a writ petition from the All India State Bank Officers Federation in Chennai and All India Bank Officers' Confederation in New Delhi challenging various orders passed in 2014 by the authorities concerned and consequently direct them to continue the LTC/HTC (Home Travel Concession) to cover foreign travels as provided to the officers of the banks prior to April, 2014.

Dismissing the petition, the judge observed that the central government's policy regarding the Leave Travel Concession (LTC) to the officers of the public sector banks is to be followed in the interest of the public.

The instructions earlier issued to facilitate the officers to get reimbursement for foreign travel, which is not in consonance with Rule 44 of the State Bank of India Officers Service Rules, 1992 cannot be therefore, construed as an absolute right conferred on the officers of the State Bank of India nor there is a bipartite agreement or settlement exists between the parties.

Thus, there is no infringement of service rights or violation of service conditions, as there is no withdrawal of the benefit conferred to the SBI officers under Rule 44 of the SBI Officers Service Rules, 1992, the judge said.

The concession and the facility extended to get reimbursement of the foreign travel expenses, was given by way of an additional facility through a letter and the same was cancelled and the facility was withdrawn pursuant to the orders of the Union Ministry of Finance and the circular issued by the Indian Bank Association.

The policy of the central government is to be followed in the interest of the public by all the public sector banks, which was adopted by the Indian Bank Association.

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"This being the factum established, there is no further scope for any discussion or negotiation with the officers of the SBI as the withdrawal of such additional facility would not infringe the service rights or result in violation of service conditions of the officers. Providing an opportunity in such circumstances is a futile exercise and furthermore, the officers of the Bank are not prejudiced nor their service rights, violated. The executive actions regarding the foreign affairs should be viewed with greater latitude and the decision being taken by the SBI is pursuant to the Government of India policy, which was adopted by Indian Bank Association. Thus, this Court does not find any perversity or infirmity in respect of the decision taken by the SBI based on the policy decision of the government of India, which was adopted by the Indian Bank Association. Thus, the writ petition is devoid of merits," the judge said and dismissed it.



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