The RBI was responding to a PIL seeking the HC’s direction to the central bank to direct banks to take action against their employees for joining union-led strikes as it caused great financial damage to the nation and adversely affected consumers.
The RBI told the division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice AJ Shastri that it had no role to play in disputes between banks and their staff, and the issue was not policy-related where it can intervene. It clarified that “the disputes between the banks and their employees/union would not fall within the ambit of ‘banking policy’ as defined in the Banking Regulation Act, 1949”.
The affidavit filed on behalf of the RBI by Krishan Rawat, assistant general manager in RBI’s Ahmedabad office, submitted that while RBI has the discretion to issue direction to banks, the petitioner “cannot call upon” the HC to issue directions to the RBI to exercise its discretion “in a manner or fashion beneficial and favou-rable to a person/individual”.
The affidavit also submitted that there are also separate labour laws to deal with the issue of strikes by employees and added, “Every bank has its own regulations on conduct and discipline of its employees and the Reserve Bank has no role in enforcement and implementation of such regulations.”
The petitioners, citing news articles, had stated in their PIL that “transactions worth Rs 12,000 crore was derailed in Gujarat alone due to strike of the bank employees in the past”.
The petitioners sought that the court direct banks, as well as the RBI, to issue circulars of strict action against those employees who have been going on strike very frequently for their own financial benefits.
The court was informed by the labour union’s legal representative that a meeting is scheduled on February 29 with the Chief Labour Commissioner. The matter is expected to be heard further on March 3.
The PIL at the HC was moved by Gujarat Traders Federation, Rajkot, Sorath, Gondal, Bhavnagar districts, Central Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industries, and Ahmedabad Automobile Dealers Association. They raised an objection to such strikes, terming it to be “pressure tactic to claim financial benefits.”
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