Delhi HC: Delhi Govt to Negotiate With Insurance Companies to Implement CM Advocates Welfare Scheme

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The Delhi High Court directed a ‘Technical Evaluation Committee’ under the Delhi Government to hold negotiations with three companies. These companies were ‘The New India Assurance’, ‘Oriental Insurance’, and ‘National Insurance’. This was to issue group Mediclaim policies for Delhi advocates under the CM Advocates’ Welfare Scheme.

Brief Facts of the Case 

Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) had filed a petition on the enactment of the CM Advocates’ Welfare Scheme. The Court had directed the Committee to hold talks with Life Insurance Corporation of India and complete the terms of the policy. Delhi Government-issued tender notice for procuring insurance schemes for lawyers. They were pursuant to the order passed by the Court.

The Delhi Government filed a status report before the Court. It informed that the insurance companies (stated above) submitted their bids for group Medi-claim as per the tender. However, they were not qualified for the notice inviting tender. These insurance companies had failed to produce their experience documents and Rs 35 lakh security amount.

Contentions

Bar Council of Delhi raised concerns about delay. BCD urged the Court to direct Delhi Government to go ahead with the process despite the technical shortfalls. This was in view of the fact that all applicant companies had a high standing in the market.

Court’s Observations

A Single Judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh had been set up. Senior Advocate Kailash Vasdev and BCD Chairman KC Mittal appeared for BCD. Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar and Additional Standing Counsel Stayakam represented the Delhi Government. For life insurance, only LIC came forward with the bid. Thus, the bid was not technically qualified. The Court also agreed with the submissions made by BCD.

The Court was of the opinion that rejection of bid would result in further delay in the scheme’s execution. It further opined that the timely issuance of the policy was important. It stated that the same had to bear fruition and cannot disclaim to be ineffective. The Court thus took judicial notice of the standing of all the insurance companies in question. It ordered these three companies to appear before the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) on the designated date and time.

The Court directed the TEC to conduct negotiations within the broad parameters of the notice inviting tender. This was except the two conditions on experience documents and security amount. The court stated that the TEC may choose the bid of any one insurance company or divide it among two or more parties. The Court also asked the TEC to consider LIC’s stand to dismiss extension of life insurance policies of senior citizens above 74 years, while fixing policy terms. After the Cabinet of the Delhi Government approved TEC’s decision, it should be presented to the Court.

Court’s Decision

The matter would be heard next on August 28.


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