Court slams Air India stand over sacked pilots (Lead)

July 16th, 2012 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) Slamming the Air India management for its stiff stand on the issue of reinstatement of 101 sacked pilots, the Delhi High Court Monday asked it to explain how long will it take to let the dismissed aviators rejoin duty.

Justice Reva Khetrapal asked counsel Lalit Bhasin, appearing for Air India, to seek instructions from the management whether the committee constituted for the reinstatement of terminated pilots would submit the report within four weeks.

“You will seek instruction whether you will consider the matter of reinstatement of pilots within four weeks,” said Justice Khetrapal, fixing July 18 as the next date of hearing.

The court’s remark came after senior advocate C.A. Sundaram informed the court that the conciliation process between the pilots, who recently called off their strike, was going on but the management was doing nothing about the reinstatement of the pilots whose services it terminated.

The court expressed its anguish after Bhasin told the court that it may take three months to reinstate the pilots, as a committee formed for the purpose would decide the issue case by case.

“It looks now like the management wants to have its cake and eat it too, how it can be allowed?” said Justice Khetrapal, expressing unhappiness over the delay in the process of reinstatement of pilots.

“How and when these pilots are going to be reinstated? How long they have to wait? They have not asked you for any demands,” the court said.

The court slammed the management and said: “You assured the court that you will sympathetically consider the issue of pilots’ reinstatement and on that basis the court passed the order. Now you are adopting a stiff stand.”

Bhasin defended the stand of management and told the court that the issue of reinstatement of pilots would be sympathetically considered by the management of Air India.

The pilots’ counsel told the court that their reinstatement should be considered as soon as possible.

Sundaram said: “There is nothing to consider about the reinstatement of pilots. Management know why they have been terminated.”

On July 13, Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner S.K. Chand submitted a report to the court, saying that the committee has been formed for the reinstatement of the sacked Air India pilots.

The court July 9 told the Air India management and a section of its pilots, who recently called off their 58-day strike, to hold talks daily before the deputy chief labour commissioner.

The court in an earlier hearing asked the management to “sympathetically and expeditiously” consider the reinstatement of pilots whose services were terminated.

The pilots having allegiance to the Indian Pilots’ Guild called off their stir after the Air India management July 3 assured the high court that it would “sympathetically” consider their grievances, including the reinstatement of the 101 sacked pilots.

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