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Air India strike: HC pulls up management, pilots

Last updated on: May 3, 2011 14:22 IST

Air India strike: HC pulls up management, pilots

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With the strike by Air India pilots entering the seventh day, Delhi high court on Tuesday rapped the airline management and the pilots' association for their rigid attitude and appointed a counsel to assist it in resolving the stand off.

"It seems that you are also not interested in getting the strike called off," a division bench headed by Justice B D Ahmed told Lalit Bhasin, the counsel for the Air India Limited.

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Image: An Air India aircraft.

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"This court does not want to be assisted by a partisan person like you. We will appoint an amicus curaie to assist us on the legal issue," the bench told Bhasin, disapproving of his arguments on behalf of the airline management.

Initiating the arguments, senior advocate K T S Tulsi, who represented the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, said, "We have filed an appeal against the order of the single-judge initiating contempt proceedings against us.

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Image: An Air India aircraft takes off.

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"I urge this court to hear my appeal with the criminal contempt proceedings tomorrow," Tulsi said.

The bench asked Tulsi if the striking pilots were ready to relent and budge from their stand to continue the strike.

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Image: Air India mascot Maharaja.

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The court, which appointed Siddharth Luthra as the amicus curiae, said, "The time is running against you (ICPA).

You consult your client and report back to us at 2.15 pm today itself."

Tulsi, however, sought to assure the court that strike can be called off within two hours provided the Air India management takes a sympathetic and conciliatory approach towards resolving the stalemate.


Image: An Air India Boeing.

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ICPA leaders have made it clear to the court that they would call off the strike as soon as the management gave an undertaking to consider their demands within a given time-frame.

They have said that the Chief Labour Commissioner, in its closure report on the last round of tripartite talks, had blamed the management for not making any efforts to resolve the issues.

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They quoted the CLC's closure report on the conciliation proceedings as saying that the management had shown 'an insincere and superficial attitude towards reaching an amicable solution'.

The pilots, who struck work from midnight last Tuesday, have been demanding pay parity with their colleagues of erstwhile Air India, better working conditions and CBI inquiry into alleged withdrawal of flights from profitable routes, aircraft purchase and other issues.



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