28 Jun, 2022 11:53a.m.

HC rules against SBI officers claim for LTC for foreign travel


The Madras High Court found that State Bank of India (SBI) officers do not have an absolute right to reimbursement for international travel expenses.

On June 24, Justice S M Subramaniam dismissed a writ petition from the All India State Bank Officers Federation in Chennai and the All India Bank Officers' Confederation in New Delhi that challenged several orders issued in 2014 by the relevant authorities and ordered them to continue providing Leave Travel Concession (LTC) to cover international travel for bank officers as they had done prior to April 2014.

The judge stated, in rejecting the complaint, that it is in the public's best interest to follow the central government's policy governing the LTC paid to officers of public sector banks.

Rule 44 of the State Bank of India Officers Service Rules, 1992 is not in compliance with the instructions previously issued to assist officers in obtaining reimbursement for international travel. Therefore, it cannot be interpreted as an absolute right granted to SBI officers, and there is no agreement or settlement between the parties.

The judge stated that there was no violation of service rights or conditions because the benefit granted to SBI officers under Rule 44 of the SBI Officers Service Rules, 1992 had not been revoked.

In accordance with directions from the Union Ministry of Finance and a circular issued by the Indian Bank Association, the concession and the facility to claim reimbursement of international travel expenses were abolished.

A letter was used to provide the facility as an additional facility. In the public's best interest, all public sector banks must comply to the central government's policy, which was endorsed by the Indian Bank Association.

The court ruled that, now that this fact has been established, there is no room for further discussion or negotiation with the SBI officers because the removal of this additional facility would not violate the officers' service rights or employment terms.

It was stated that giving someone a chance under these conditions is meaningless and that the bank's executives are not being discriminated against or having their service rights violated.

According to the court, greater latitude should be provided to executive activities in foreign affairs, and the SBI's decision is consistent with a Government of India policy adopted by the Indian Bank Association.

"Thus, the Court finds no perversity or infirmity in the SBI's judgement, which was based on a policy decision of the Indian government that was endorsed by the Indian Bank Association. Consequently, the writ petition lacks merit "The judge stated and rejected it.

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