The Bombay high court on Monday issued a notice to Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) following a plea filed by doctors against the corporation. The doctors, including a few from Tata Memorial Hospital, questioned the morality of LIC holding shares of a company that manufactures cigarettes.
The court is likely to hear the plea on Thursday. It argued that since the Union and the state governments promote anti-tobacco warnings, programmes and tackle health issues caused by consuming tobacco, LIC and other state-run insurance companies should not have any links with, or endorse the firms which are in the tobacco business.
The plea stated that the “insurance companies and government should cease and desist from making any further investments in any commercial enterprise that is linked with funding, promoting, selling, directly or indirectly controlling or operating a tobacco business.”
The petitioners include a member of the Tata Trusts, Sumitra Pednekar, whose husband and former state home and labour minister Satish Pednekar, died of throat cancer in 2011.
As per the plea, the Union government owns a 32% stake in ITC through five state-run insurance companies and the Unit Trust of India.