The Delhi High Court on Monday pulled up Air India(AI) for “sitting over” the conciliation process for reinstatement of its 101 pilots whose services were terminated for going on strike.
The court also asked the AI management to inform it by Wednesday if the high-power committee, set up by it, would decide the issue within four weeks.
Expressing displeasure with the AI management for not fulfilling its assurance to consider the issue of reinstatement sympathetically in a time bound manner, Justice Reva Khetrapal said, “I am upset and I am also getting anguished… You assured the court. Now you want to sit over it. It should be in a time-bound manner.”
“It looks now like the management wants to have its cake and eat it too, how it can be allowed?” Justice Khetrapal said while expressing her displeasure with the delay in the process of reinstatement of pilots.
The court passed the order after counsel Lalit Bhasin, appearing for AI management, said that he is sticking to the stand taken by the management to consider the reinstatement issue sympathetically but the statement was not appreciated in the proper spirit.
He also said the management has setup a high-power committee which will examine the issue on case by case basis and it will take at least three months’ time.
To his submission, the court asked the counsel to seek instructions from the management whether its committee constituted for the reinstatement of pilots will submit the report within four weeks.
“You will seek instruction whether you will consider the matter of reinstatement of pilots within four weeks,” Justice Khetrapal said.
The court’s remarks came after senior advocates C.A. Sundaram and Geeta Luthra informed it that conciliation process is going on but management is doing nothing about the reinstatement of terminated pilots and is not serious on the issue.
“There is nothing to consider about the reinstatement of pilots. Management knows why they have been terminated,” Sundaram said.
He stated that committee will not be fair towards pilots. “We are not happy with the committee formed by the Air India management. Some members of family may not be fair.”
AI management has constituted a committee comprising of Senior Executives K.M. Unni, SBO head-MRO (Airframe), N K Jain, Director (personnel) and R Harihar, ED (projects) and ED (IR &I) to negotiate with the pilots about their demand of reinstatement of the pilots.
On July 13, Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner S.K. Chand submitting the conciliation report to the court said that the committee has been formed for the reinstatement of terminated Air India pilots.
The Delhi High Court had on July 9 told the Air India management and a section of its pilots, who recently called off their 58-day-old strike, to hold conciliation talks daily before the deputy chief labour commissioner till the dispute was resolved.