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Friday, February 05, 2016

AS RAMANATHAN

            
There is nothing ominous in the remark. It only gives us, in very clear terms that the Hon Judges on the Bench have understood our case. What remains to be heard is only, what reasons the SG is going to advance in support of the LIC/Govt and the reply thereto by the pensioners counsels. Normally, to my little knowledge, it appears that after the SG, it will be the turn of the main Respondent followed by others to reply. Usually other counsels will supplement, if there is any new point of argument but otherwise go with the main arguments. The Judges usually may not show interest to hear the same arguments and may ask only for any other points. Afterwards the court will reserve the judgement to be pronounced later. We should be happy if this happens in one or two hearings.

Having said that, we should remember that there are certain points to be noted. Some questions such as if the Bench says, Govt’s approval is necessary, and they are empowered to, no doubt we will lose our case. It will be naïve to come to such a simple conclusion and I don’t think those who are in the know of things, from the legal angle, will agree. It has to be understood that many may not be aware of the niceties of the arguments that will arise during the course of the hearing. No one, including myself, for the pensioners have come out openly with our arguments nor is it wise to disclose. So it is not ominous but necessary to foresee what can be expected. I am not in any panel on strategies planned. I was lucky to know some of those fighting and having been before the bar fighting legal battles for the LIC, I ventured to sharing my views with them.

The LIC’s civil Appeal was allowed to be listed by the SC. Counter has been filed opposing the admissibility of it, because LIC is not considered as aggrieved by the decision of Justice Bhandari. The Division Bench of the Rajasthan HC has made it clear while dismissing the LIC’s appeal. The Govt. did not appeal along with the LIC nor did they file any counter after the DB gave notice to them, even after adjournments to do so, as stated by the DB. The SLP filed by the LIC was dismissed. The litigation has come to an end then and there and nothing remains to be decided by the SC. But there is another set of SLPs filed by the Govt. after a lapse of more than three years of the Judgement of the SB of Jaipur. When the Govt. did not file an appeal itself before the DB, within the normal time for moving the SC of 90 days from the date of the judgement appealed against, how can the SC now be persuaded to admit and hear a hopelessly time barred SLP, which in effect is a permission to file an appeal, despite bold attempts through top lawyers of the Govt. with all persuasive presentations in flowery language. If in spite of this, the petitions are heard, our argument will continue.

May I also inform you that the sum up of our case by the Bench, as reported, was anticipated soon after the filing of the appeal, and enough ammunition is at hand to break the seemingly impregnable shield worn by the Govt. with the LIC hiding behind.

Please be patient, do not discourage the fighters, allow law to take its own course, we will succeed. May be our case may create history. We are all old, and in a war many soldiers and others are laid to rest but let us hope those of us now here, will be there to enjoy the fruits of our labour, which is not far away. We have, I believe very good chance to win our case hands down. Please don’t despair. All these years we have worked following the principle of ‘utmost good faith ’and have faith in those handling the case and our counsel. Let us believe that Senior Advocates is the SC are worth their salt.