28 March 2019
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed petitions seeking stay on the merger of three public sector banks -- Dena Bank, Vijaya Bank and Bank of Baroda. The merger is set to take effect on April 1.
Rejecting the plea by the staff and officers of two merging banks and their associations, the bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran in its order said: "No case for grant of stay."
Appearing for the petitioner staff and officers' associations, senior counsel Shyam Divan questioned the merger decision saying that it happened on the instruction of the government as all the decisions including swap ratio, fairness scrutiny, cabinet decision, impugned notification and the decision by the respective board of directors of the three PSU banks happened on January 2.
Referring to the statutory provisions mandating consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Divan asserted that consultation with the apex bank effectively meant its concurrence.
Divan contended that the manner in which merger was pushed was "complete circumvention of the statutory scheme and safeguard". The merger, slated to take place on April 1, would adversely impact the staff and officers of two merging banks and would result in redundancy, he said.
Both senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the absence of workmen and officers' representation in the board of directors in no way impeded the process of merger.
If one post in the board of the merging banks remained vacant that would not invalidate the merger process, Rohatgi told the court.
Mehta said that the service conditions of the staff of the Dena Bank and the Vijaya Bank would continue to be the same and would not be altered.