Signage of IDBI Bank at its Elphinstone Road Branch in Mumbai. (Photographer: Anirudh Saligrama/BloombergQuint)

Delhi High Court Rejects Plea Against LIC Move To Acquire 51% Stake In IDBI

The Delhi High Court dismissed a plea challenging India’s largest insurer’s move to acquire 51 percent stake in the Industrial Development Bank of India.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru rejected the petition by the All India IDBI Officers Association, which had opposed the move of Life Insurance Corporation on the ground that change in shareholding could take away the public-sector bank status of IDBI.

The association was concerned that taking away public-sector status of IDBI could affect the employment conditions of its staff.

LIC had earlier told the court it wanted to acquire 51 percent 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". 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 wasn't required while changing the status of the company by government's dis-investment.

IDBI, in which the government holds 85.96 percent stake, had posted a net loss of Rs 2,409.9 crore in the quarter ended June 2018. It had posted a gross non-performing asset of about Rs 57,807 crore.

The association, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, 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 policy holders since it will have to invest an amount of Rs 13,000 crore to acquire the 51 percent stake".

The petition had stated, "The said investment will be made from the funds of 38 crore policy holders of the LIC who have invested their hard-earned money to secure their future. The said investment made by the LIC will adversely hamper its own abilities to pay its insurance holders."

Also read: IDBI Bank Capital Levels Fall Below Regulatory Requirement