Friday, October 02, 2015

M.Sreenivasa Murty

Does anybody believe that LIC suddenly decided on its own to retain the services of Solicitor General of India to argue its case, replacing Mr AM Singhvi? I don’t.

We all know that Union of India was always arraigned as a Respondent in all our WPs, at Jaipur, Chandigarh & at Delhi. But the UoI chose not to file Appeals against any of the Judgements in its own name in any of the CAs. This aspect was in fact a point of serious discussion before the DB in Jaipur – (that the Government did not Appeal) and the point was held against the Government by the DB in its detailed Order dated 21.01.2011. There were other important points that were highlighted, like the Counsel appearing for the UoI making certain commitments that went on record.

In the above background, Government (As also LIC) is well aware that the wind is against it in the CAs as long it continues to shoot LIC Pensioners from LIC’s shoulder rather than take a position directly. Pensioners may note that even in the CAs filed by LIC the Affidavit filed by an Under Secretary to Govt in the pending WP before the Allahabad Bench of UP High Court was reproduced. It is somewhat difficult for LIC & UoI to explain why the latter is not coming in to the open.

To tide over the above adverse situation, UoI finally decided to enter the scene directly through its SLPs against the Jaipur DB Judgement and the Order dismissing the Review Petition. That the two SLPs were hopelessly delayed (by five years) making condoning it very difficult, was obvious.
On 7 May 2015, when hearing did not take place and the Bench proposed adjournment to a date immediately after the summer vacation, UoI’s two new pending SLPs were mentioned. LIC Counsel confessed that his own case was closely interlinked with the SLPs. The Bench therefore obliged to a long adjournment (to 23 Sept) to facilitate Notice being served on the Respondents, their filing of the Counter in six weeks, Rejoinder if any by UoI in four weeks etc., The major fall out of the four and half month adjournment was the ‘largesse’ from the Bench, if I may call it so, in the shape of 20% interim payment directions.  All the twists and turns ever since are recent history including what happened on 7 Sept, 23 Sept and finally 30 Sept 2015.

I am tempted to believe that UoI is not banking much on its own SLPs except technically get over the charge of not directly appealing against the three Judgements. So let LIC engage and also ‘PAY’ for its first Law Officer and get briefed by the Govt as much as by LIC and its own interests are perhaps safe in the SG’s hands. As far as LIC is concerned anything coming on the Three Lion Letter Head is divine Fatwa. Ironically, going by what Justice Misra hinted on 30th for LIC to prepare to defend, (SG was not present then) it is going to be no cake walk for the SG to do justice to his brief. Who cares, anyway? 

Incidentally, it was Mr Ranjit Kumar, the same Solicitor General of India who appeared for the State of Rajasthan in CA No 1123 of 2015 where Justice Misra delivered his recent land mark Judgement on 1 July 2015 and held the matter categorically in favour of the Pensioners.  Let us watch how, the SGI would bail out LIC (and the UoI) on and from 18 Nov 2015 before the same Justice Misra on the same subject of Pension without unlawful discrimination.
I may conclude this Post here as I intend to separately address certain blasphemous    statements and ridiculous allegations made by Sri Krishna Murari Lal Asthana, following my reporting on what all happened in the Supreme Court on 30 Sept 2015.