Court declines plea of Air India pilots (Lead)

May 17th, 2012 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday refused to entertain a plea of striking Air India pilots who wanted to continue their protest over their career progression plan, and said contempt of court proceedings could be initiated against them if they “willingly and flagrantly” disobey its orders.

The court did not take up the plea of Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG), an association of Air India pilots, challenging the court’s earlier order that restrained its members from going on an “illegal strike”.

“You cannot take advantage of the appeal while you are in contempt,” said a division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Rajiv Shakdher.

Coming down heavily on the striking pilots, the court said they could not “wilfully and flagrantly” disobey court orders to end their “illegal” strike and may face action for contempt of court.

“We could have directly proceeded with the contempt of court proceedings against you, but we leave it ot the single judge so that better sense will prevail on you (IPG),” the judges said.

“There is no reason to entertain the plea, there is no urgency, as according to you there is no strike,” the court said.

A single judge of the court May 9 restrained the pilots from going on an illegal strike.

“In this case, we have no doubt that members of the appellant (IPG) are and continue to be in violation of the order of the learned single judge,” the court said Thursday.

“Since we are not entertaining the appeal and the order of the learned single judge stands, the members of the appellant would be well advised to comply with the orders of the learned single judge,” the court said.

The judges said that if IPG members failed to comply with the court order or continued with their strike, the single judge could initiate contempt of court proceedings against them.

“In our view, no litigant can avail of any discretionary remedy from the court by willingly and flagrantly disobeying the orders of the court,” the court said.

The judges said that the IPG could approach the single judge who earlier passed the order for its modification. “We are not inclined to entertain the appeal. The appeal is, accordingly, dismissed. The appellant, however, is at liberty to approach learned single judge to vacate, modify or vary the impugned order,” the court said.

Hearing a plea by Air India, the single judge court May 9 restrained the over 100 pilots, owing allegiance to the IPG, from continuing the strike, which is in its 10th day, over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression.

Restraining the pilots from continuing the strike, the single judge said that the guild, “its members, agents, office bearers are restrained from illegal strike”.

“The pilots are also restrained from reporting sick, demonstrating, holding dharnas, or resorting to any other modes of strike in and outside the petitioner company, including its offices in Delhi and outside, and also around airports,” the court said.

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