Review; Tamil Nadu Terminated Full Time Temporary LIC Employees Association Vs. S. K. Roy, The Chairman, Life Insurance Corporation of India [Supreme Court of India, 09-08-2016]

Constitution of India – Article 137 – Review Petition – Scope of – Review power of Supreme Court – When the review will be & will not be maintainable – a mere repetition of the same arguments which were urged in the appeal and have been rejected, is not sufficient to justify the exercise of power of review.


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

[V. GOPALA GOWDA] AND [C. NAGAPPAN] JJ.

August 9, 2016

CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO. 459 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6950 OF 2009

TAMILNADU TERMINATED FULL TIME TEMPORARY LIC EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION …PETITIONER Vs. S.K. ROY, THE CHAIRMAN, LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA & ANR. …CONTEMNORS WITH CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO. 634 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.6956 OF 2009, REVIEW PETITION (C) NO. 3846 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6950 OF 2009, REVIEW PETITION (C) NO. 2994 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.6953 OF 2009, REVIEW PETITION (C) NO. 2991 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.6956 OF 2009, CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO. 637 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.6953 OF 2009, REVIEW PETITION (C) NO. 2990 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.6954 OF 2009, REVIEW PETITION (C) NO. 2993 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.6952 OF 2009, CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO. 502 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.6952 OF 2009, REVIEW PETITION (C) NO. 2989 OF 2015 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.6951 OF 2009 AND CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO. 21 OF 2016 IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.6950 OF 2009

J U D G M E N T

V. GOPALA GOWDA, J.

Delay condoned in filing the Review Petitions.

2. These Review Petitions arise from the impugned judgment and order dated 18.03.2015 passed by this Court in Civil Appeal No. 6950 of 2009 and connected appeals, whereby it was held that the Award passed by Central Government Industrial Tribunal, New Delhi (CGIT) in I.D. No. 27 of 1991 is legal and valid and the same be restored and implemented by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (hereinafter referred to as the “LIC”) by absorbing the concerned workmen in the permanent posts. It was further held that the Corporation would be liable to pay all consequential benefits including monetary benefits taking into consideration the revised pay scale in the cases of those workmen who had attained the age of superannuation.

3. As the facts of the case are already stated in the judgment in Civil Appeal No. 6950 of 2009, the same need not be reiterated herein for the sake of brevity. The following contentions were advanced by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the parties in support of their case: Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, the learned Attorney General appearing on behalf of the review petitioner-LIC contends that this Court, while passing the judgment and order dated 18.03.2015, failed to appreciate that the Tulpule and Jamdar awards stood substituted by the “Terms of Compromise” way back on 01.03.1989, which stood finally disposed of vide judgment and order dated 07.02.1996 passed by this Court in Civil Appeal No. 1790 of 1989. It is further contended that this Court failed to appreciate the effect of settlement of an award, in the light of the decision of this Court in the case of

Herbertsons Ltd. v. Workmen, (1976) 4 SCC 736

which has further been followed by this Court in the cases of

Transmission Corpn., A.P. Ltd. v. P. Ramchandra Rao, (2006) 9 SCC 623

and

ITC Ltd. Workers Welfare Assn. v. ITC Ltd., (2002) 3 SCC 411

4. The learned Attorney General further submits that under

Section 24 of the Life Insurance Corporation Act, 1956

(hereinafter referred to as the “LIC Act, 1956”), the Central Government does not allocate any fund for LIC, and the funds for LIC are generated from the payments made to it and that the Central Government does not contribute towards the funding of LIC. It is further submitted that under Section 28 of the LIC Act, 1956, 95% of the surplus of LIC is to be allocated to or reserved for its life insurance policy-holders. Thus, the contention that LIC has a huge surplus and is in a position to implement the order of this Court is misconceived as the same goes against the statutory provisions of the LIC Act, 1956.

5. The learned Attorney General further submits that the financial implications on LIC in complying with the impugned judgment and order of this Court cannot be ignored. At this stage, we would deem it fit to point out that the same, however, does not find any mention in the Review Petition filed by LIC before this Court and does not form a part of its pleadings.

6. The learned Attorney General further submits that as on 31 03.2015, LIC had 55,427 Class III employees and 5,190 Class IV employees. If LIC is directed to consider the absorption of the workmen to the advertisement, then the number of Class III employees will increase by 11.14% and Class IV employees by 56.65% and the same will affect the employee’s ratio in addition to the increase in its financial burden and that the same will be contrary to the interests of the policyholders. The learned Attorney General estimates the financial liability for implementing the order of this Court at approximately Rs.7087 crores, with the annual liability at around Rs.728 crores per year and that this will be a huge financial burden for LIC to bear.

7. On the other hand, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents-workers submit that it becomes clear from a perusal of the Review Petitions filed by LIC that it is trying to re-agitate the case on merits. The learned counsel placed reliance on the decision of this Court in the case of

Enviro Legal Action v. Union of India, (2011) 8 SCC 161

wherein this Court elaborated the scope of the review power of this Court under Article 137 of the Constitution. It was held as under:

“The ratio of these judgments is that a court of final appeal has power in truly exceptional circumstances to recall its order even after they have been entered in order to avoid irremediable injustice. Reviewing of various cases of different jurisdictions lead to irresistible conclusion that though the judgments of the apex court can also be reviewed or recalled but it must be done in extremely exceptional circumstances where there is gross violation of principles of natural justice.”

Further reliance is placed on the decision of this Court in the case of