As We know service conditions of Bank Employees in India are governed by Shastri Award as modified from time to time
by subsequent Bipartite Settlements. Here is an historical perview of how bank employees attained their present status :
In Bombay, Bengal and United Provinces the unrest among the bank
employees became more and the state governments referred the disputes for adjudication with the intention of giving some relief
to the bank employees. These were known as Awards.
Justice H. U. Devatia was appointed as an adjudicator in 1946 to resolve the dispute between
Bank of India Ltd. and its employees. Also he was appointed in the dispute between 30 banking company operations in Bombay
and his award was published in the Bombay government gazette dated 9th April 1947. This is popularly known as Devatia
In the United Province (the present Uttar Pradesh) there were disputes between 40 banking companies
and their workmen which was referred to Mr. B. B. Singh for adjudication. He gave this award on 11.03.1947 which was known
as B. B. Singh Award.
Sri. R. Gupta was appointed as adjudicator by the state government of Bengal
to settle the dispute between the Imperial Bank of India and its workmen. The award was published in Calcutta gazette dated
4.8.1947 which was known as Gupta Award. Apart from Imperial Bank, several other banks of Bengal also adopted the Gupta Award
Sri. S. C. Chakravarty was the adjudicator in the dispute between the Imperial Bank of India,
Bengal Circle and its employees in respect of certain issues which was not covered by the Gupta Award and it was published
in the Calcutta government gazette dated 22.12.1948.
S. K. Sen Award
Sri. S. K. Sen was appointed by the Bengal government to adjudicate upon the
dispute between Central Bank of India Ltd. and its employees in Calcutta. This award was published on 22.12.1947.
K. C. Sen Award
In 13.06.1949 the Central Government Ministry of Labour constituted an Industrial Tribunal
consisting of 3 retired judges of High Court to adjudicate upon the dispute between several banking companies and their workmen.
The Tribunal was presided over by K. C. Sen, President of the Industrial Court, Bombay and a retired judge of the Bombay High
Court. For the first time an All India Industrial Tribunal was constituted and the various disputes related to the banking
industry were referred to it. Their award was published in the gazette of India on 12th August 1950 and is referred
as the Sen Award. Some of the leading banks were so dissatisfied with this award that they went to the Supreme Court. On 9th
April 1951, the Supreme Court, by a majority judgement, declared the Sen Award as void altogether for the reason that the
constitution of the tribunal offended against the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The Court also didn’t
go into the merits of the award and held that the award was void in total for want of jurisdiction and in consequence of this,
the disputes in the banking industry remained unresolved.
On 6th January 1952 the Sastri Tribunal was constituted and the Central
Government referred to it for adjudication the disputes between various banks and their workmen and this popularly known as
Sastri Award. Sri Panchapa Gesava Sastri was the Chairman and Sri M. L. Tannan and Sri V. L. D’souza were the members.
It is the most comprehensive award with dealt with almost all the service conditions of bank employees. The Sastri Tribunal
gave its award in March 1953. But the Unions were not satisfied with its recommendations and went for an appeal before Labour
Appellate Tribunal. The tribunal gave its decision on 28th March, 1954 to the satisfaction of the bank employees.
But this time the bank management were not happy with the decisions and they went for appeal to the government. The government,
after obtaining the views of the Reserve Bank, modified some of the decisions of the Labour Appellate Tribunal. This interference
of the government came for wide criticisms which resulted in the resignation of the then Labour Minster Mr. V. V. Giri.
Bank Award Commission
The Government of India appointed a bank award commission on 17th September, 1954
with Sri. Raja Dhyaksha as Chairman. But Sri. Raja Dhyaksha died soon after his appointment and his place was taken over by
Sri. P. S. Gajendragatkar, judge in the Bombay High Court and who later became Chief Justice of India. He submitted his report
on 27.05.1954 and based on that, the Government of India passed an act called Industrial Disputes (Banking Companies) Decisions
Act, 1955 and it was provided that the Sastri Award as modified by the decision of the Labour Appellate Tribunal and further
modified by the recommendation of the bank award commission would remain in force till 31.03.1959.
Immediately after the cessation of the Sastri Award All India Bank Employees
Association and All India Bank Employees Federation served notice and submitted the charter of demands. Government of India
constituted a national tribunal under the chairmanship of Sri. Justice Kanthilal Desai, Chief Justice of the High Court of
Gujarat on 21.03.1960. This award was given on 7.6.1962 and was in operation till 1964. The Government of India extended the
period of Desai Award till 30.06.1965 though the unions opposed the action of the government.