New Delhi: Coming down heavily on striking Air India pilots, the Delhi high court on Thursday said that they cannot “wilfully and flagrantly” disobey court orders to end their “illegal” strike and can face contempt action.
Rejecting the plea of Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), which is spearheading the agitation by over 200 pilots, the court said, “In our view, no litigant can avail of any discretionary remedy from the court by wilfully and flagrantly disobeying the orders of the court.”
The IPG had moved the court challenging the ex-parte order of a single judge on 9 May holding the strike as illegal, saying it was done without any authority.
A bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher said rather, the striking pilots can be tried for the offence of contempt of court by the single-judge bench. “We could have directly proceeded with the contempt of court proceedings against you, but we leave it to the single judge so that better sense will prevail on you (IPG),” it said.
The court had earlier reserved its order on the plea of IPG challenging the single-judge order which restrained it from continuing with the “illegal strike” by reporting sick and staging demonstrations.
The pilots were agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression under the banner of IPG. The airline management has sacked 71 pilots including office bearers of the IPG.
The IPG is protesting AI’s decision to train pilots of Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), a union of pilots of erstwhile domestic carrier Indian Airlines, for dreamliner Boeing aircraft.
Earlier, the AI management had filed an injunction suit against the pilots saying their strike has compelled it to cancel its international flight operations.
The IPG, in its appeal against the single-judge order, said the high court lacked jurisdiction as the office of the pilots’ body is in Mumbai.