The Kerala High Court has reserved judgment on a writ petition challenging New Pension Scheme made applicable to recruits joining State Bank of India on or after August 1, 2010.

Justice C. T. Ravikumar heard the case, filed by A. Jayakumar, General Secretary, State Banks’ Staff Union (Kerala Circle), which came up for hearing on Monday.

Sources told Business Line that the Centre did not file any statement as directed by the court saying the scheme was placed before both Houses of Parliament and notified in the Gazette of India.

Counsels merely produced a reply from the Centre that the latter had instructed the bank to take care of its interests.

Counsels for the bank argued that the New Pension Scheme had been introduced under Section 43 of the SBI Act 1955. There was neither the need for laying it before Parliament nor for notification in this regard, sources quoted the counsels as saying.

DISPUTES ACT

Counsels for the staff union, however, submitted that Sections 43 and 50 of the SBI Act cannot run parallel. Any pension scheme formed, amended or altered had got to be in terms of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947.

The bank, counsels for the union argued, had given appointment orders to new recruits stating that they were governed by various awards of tribunals and settlements modified from time to time.

EXISTING SCHEME

Given this, new recruits automatically enjoyed rights to the existing pension scheme on and from the date when they were confirmed in service.

Counsels S. Vaidyanathan and George Thomas Mevada appeared for the staff union and SBI, respectively, sources said.

Meanwhile, union sources observed that the Finance Secretary had gone on record before the Standing Committee of Parliament saying that any return under the New Pension Scheme was a market-related one.

There was no guarantee for a specified quantum of pension.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 15, 2013)
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