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The Delhi High Court today stayed the trial of two Air India pilots accused of molesting an air hostess in cockpit of a Sharjah-Lucknow-Delhi flight in 2009 and asked them to try and settle the issue amicably with the complainant. Justice Manmohan, who was hearing the pleas of pilots seeking quashing of the FIR, asked them and the complainant air hostess to appear before the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of the High Court on October 8 to explore possibility of an amicable settlement.

The pilot Commander Ranbeer Arora and co-pilot Capt Aditya Chopra of a Sharjah-Lucknow-Delhi flight IC-884 allegedly entered into a verbal duel with the air hostess and molested her in the cockpit on October 3, 2009, the FIR said. The pilots have moved the High Court seeking quashing of the FIR on the ground that they have been exonerated of charges following a departmental inquiry. They said that other panels have also come to the same conclusion. The air hostess, however, opposed the plea.

The court, which asked them to try to settle the case, has now fixed January 10 for the matter. The incident allegedly occurred in the cockpit of Air India plane and had started after verbal exchange between the two sides during the pre-flight briefing session ahead of take-off from Sharjah.

The FIR was registered against the pilots under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 34 (common intention) of IPC. In her complaint, the air hostess claimed that she went inside the cockpit where she was asked by the pilots to sit there. When she refused, the air hostess claimed that the pilots made some lewd remarks.

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