The Madras High Court has extended an interim order against a circular issued a year ago that took away leave fare concession (LFC) to bank officers for foreign travel.
The court clarified that TDS should not be imposed on LFC payments made pending final disposal of writ petition. An advice to this effect has been sent to respondent banks, according to R Vaigai, Anna Mathew and K Tamilarasan, counsels for petitioners.
Justice S Nagamuthu had ordered an interim stay on the contentious circular in May last year on a writ moved by the All India State Bank Officers’ Federation, (AISBOF) Chennai, and All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), New Delhi.
The petitioners had sought an interim stay on the circular of April 7 by the Chief Executive, Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) read with the e-circular dated April 15 by Deputy Managing Director and Corporate Development Officer, State Bank of India. Counsel for petitioners had cited specific provisions of leave travel/home travel concession rules to substantiate their argument against the circular. But without making amendment to these rules, SBI had issued the impugned letter saying that officers shall not be entitled to travel abroad as part of LFC. The extension of the stay comes in response to a rejoinder affidavit filed by D Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, Vice-President, AISBOF, and joint general secretary, AIBOC. Officers are permitted to touch foreign land within the permitted limit of LFC provided the foreign travel is covered in between the domestic destinations, Dev submitted.Checking misuse
Many officers and their family members use this facility to visit destinations abroad, some of which are of religious importance. With regard to the Centre’s advice to the IBA in the matter, Dev pointed out that it was to check misuse of the facility and not issue a directive to deny it entirely.