Banks, which had introduced a `voluntary retirement scheme' (VRS), had "absolute discretion either to accept or not to accept applications of employees" to avail themselves of the scheme, the Madras High Court has held.
The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr A.P. Shah and Mr Justice K. Chandru, while dismissing writ petitions challenging action of Indian Bank, Chennai, in rejecting 482 out of 2,542 applications received under VRS on ground that they fell under excluded category, said the object of the scheme was only to downsize work force and hence the discretion exercised by the bank in accepting applications for voluntary retirement depending upon nature of work of employees "cannot be said to be arbitrary or discriminatory."
The bank had option to choose among specialised officers. Petitioners having been qualified and identified as personnel whose services were needed, discretion exercised in not accepting their applications for VRS could not be faulted with.
There was no discrimination or arbitrariness insofar as petitioners were concerned.
Their contention that while the bank had proceeded to accept applications of highly qualified specialists in information technology, the petitioners who were similarly placed were not allowed to retire, was untenable, the Bench held.
The bank submitted that while announcing VRS, it was clearly mentioned that it would be prerogative of management, either to accept or reject applications depending upon requirement of bank.
,The Bench said they had gone through the entire records, and "we are of the view that there is absolutely no substance in the submission of the petitioners that the bank had adopted a `pick and choose' policy."