The Delhi High Court Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea challenging the LIC move to acquire 51 per cent stake in the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI).
Justice Vibhu Bakhru concluded hearing arguments on behalf of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), the bank and All India IDBI Officers Association, which has filed the petition.
In their plea moved through advocates Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva, the association has said that the change in shareholding could take away the public sector bank status of the IDBI which in turn could affect their employment conditions.
LIC had earlier told the court it wanted to acquire 51 per cent stake in the IDBI as the state-run insurance company has been toying with the idea of having banking operations since 2000.
LIC said it had in the past made several attempts to have a bank of its own, but its endeavours had "failed" as "nothing fructified".
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for LIC, had also said it has applied for a banking licence.
Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, representing the bank, said that consent of employees was not required while changing the status of the company by government's dis-investment.
The IDBI, in which the government holds 85.96 per cent stake, had posted a net loss of Rs 24.0989 billion in the quarter ended June 2018. It had posted a gross non-performing asset (NPA) of about Rs 578.07 billion.
The petition had claimed that the change in shareholding was not in public interest as it "exposes the investments made by the public in the IDBI and corrodes the ability of the LIC to pay back its policyholders since it will have to invest an amount of Rs 130000 millions to acquire the 51 per cent stake".
It further stated, "The said investment will be made from the funds of 380 million policyholders of the LIC who have invested their hard earned money to secure their own futures. The said investment made by the LIC will adversely hamper its own abilities to pay its insurance holders.