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Business News/ Companies / News/  Akasa pilots question HC’s jurisdiction
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Akasa pilots question HC’s jurisdiction

Akasa Air pilots argue that the Bombay High Court does not have jurisdiction to hear their dispute with the airline.

The pilots have started submissions and will continue with arguments on 25 September. (Bloomberg)Premium
The pilots have started submissions and will continue with arguments on 25 September. (Bloomberg)

Mumbai: The Akasa Air pilots who had resigned but refused to serve the notice period said on Thursday that the dispute with the airline had originated outside Mumbai, hence the Bombay high court (HC) didn’t have the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

According to Clause XII of the original side rules of the high court, Akasa Air should obtain prior court permission to pursue the case in Mumbai before seeking any other remedies, the counsel appearing on behalf of the pilots argued.

The airline had approached the Bombay HC seeking an injunction on the resignations tendered by the pilots and requested the court to order them to serve their six-month notice period as part of the agreement.

In its plea, Akasa also sought directions for the pilots to pay 18 lakh for breach of contract and 21 crore per pilot for damages to its reputation.

A bench led by Justice S.M. Modak heard Akasa’s arguments. The pilots have started submissions and will continue with arguments on 25 September. Janak Dwarkadas, the senior counsel appearing for Akasa, told the court that the pilots were required to serve a six-month notice after resigning and, according to the terms of the contracts, disputes were to be filed in Mumbai.

Responding to the pilots’ contention on the court’s jurisdiction, Dwarkadas argued that since the pilots had executed their agreements in Mumbai and the company had received their resignation notices in Mumbai, the cause of action, which is a breach of the contract, arose in Mumbai. Hence, the suit was maintainable before the Bombay HC, he said.

“The training agreement specified that the term for training was for two years and in the event the pilot breached this agreement, an amount of 18 lakh would be payable to the company by each pilot," the senior counsel said.

On the other hand, senior counsel Darius Khambata defended the pilots arguing that “at the outset one could not choose court jurisdiction by way of contract and no court could be given exclusive jurisdiction under a contract."

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Priyanka Gawande
Priyanka Gawande is a senior legal correspondent at Mint. She has worked as legal reporter for four years with both television and digital mediums. Based in Mumbai, she reports on disputes across sectors including banking, corporates and finance. This also includes insolvency and bankruptcy cases and intellectual property rights (IPR) litigation. Her focus also comprises tracking capital markets and disputes relating to securities law. Previously, Priyanka worked with Informist Media for 2.5 years covering major insolvency and bankruptcy cases and corporate developments. She started her career in journalism with Business Television India (BTVi) where she reported on primary markets, banking, finance and insurance companies.
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Updated: 22 Sep 2023, 12:46 AM IST
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