New Delhi, June 13: The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the central government and the Air India management on a plea by the striking pilots seeking payment of their salaries for March.
Justice S.P. Garg, hearing the plea filed by Capt. Sumeer Saini, and other striking pilots seeking payment of their back wages and other perquisites, said: “Issue notice to the respondents (the government and Air India). A reply be filed within a week.”
The court would next hear the case July 10.
“Salaries of nearly 450 pilots are due. This petition has got nothing to do with the ongoing agitation. The EMIs (equated monthly instalments) to be paid by pilots and other things are getting delayed,” said senior counsel Pinki Anand, appearing for the pilots, after court asked how could their plea be entertained when they were on strike.
Opposing the plea of pilots, counsel Lalit Bhasin, appearing for Air India, said that “their plea cannot be entertained till they end their strike”.
The airline paid basic salary for March to its employees in May-end and January’s production linked incentive June 8, after it received Rs.1,200 crore out of budgetary allocation for fiscal 2012-13.
The pilots’ move to approach the high court came after the airline mulled the option of sacking another 300 striking pilots. Air India has already sacked 101 pilots. It has also advertised for new pilots.
The 37-day-long strike has severely hit Air India’s international operations, with the airline only operating 38 out of its 45 services.
Representing the aviators of the Air India, the Indian Pilots’ Guild went on strike May 8 against the move to train their counterparts from the erstwhile Indian Airlines on the soon-to-be-inducted Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The high court May 9 restrained over 200 agitating pilots from continuing their “illegal strike”, reporting sick and staging demonstrations, a day after the airline management sacked 10 pilots and derecognised their union.