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AI cabin crew case: SC orders status quo till Nov 19

November 01, 2007 19:30 IST
The Supreme Court ordered on Thursday maintenance of status quo till November 19 while taking up a petition challenging the Delhi high court's judgement allowing appointment of female cabin crew members as in-flight supervisors in the national carrier Air India.

For the last three decades, the posts of IFS has been reserved for flight pursers (male cabin crew members).

A bench headed by Justice H K Sema ordered status quo till November 19, the date on which a bunch of petitions in the matter is scheduled to come up for hearing.

Challenging the eligibility of female crew members for appointment as IFS, Air India Cabin Crew Association and others submitted that the two cadres -- air hostesses and pursers -- cannot be compared and seniority cannot be merged or equated.

The petition said the disparity with regard to service existed prior to 1997 when air hostesses were appointed between the age of 18 and 24 with just secondary school qualification whereas the flight pursers were required to be graduates and were appointed at a much older age.

The petition said flight pursers started their services three incremental levels below the air

The petition while seeking stay on the high court order said Air India could not unilaterally designate air hostesses to function as IFS by changing their job description to the detriment of existing male flight pursers as the post had been reserved for them for the last three decades.

The petition said "The high court failed to appreciate that the matter was not pertaining to gender discrimination but was a challenge to the unilateral administrative order by which two cadres were sought to be merged and a common seniority list prepared."

The high court judgement came on a bunch of petitions filed by male cabin crew members (recruited prior to June 5, 1997) challenging the Centre's order allowing female crew members to fly till the age of 58 years and making female crew members eligible for appointment as in-flight supervisors.

The high court had upheld the central government administrative order dated December 27, 2005 which placed executive female cabin crew at par with their male counterparts for appointment as IFS. It had also allowed female cabin crew in the national carrier Air India to fly till the age of 58 years.
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