HC dismisses Air India Cabin Crew Association petition

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New Delhi, Oct 8 (UNI) Delhi High Court today dismissed a petition by Air India Cabin Crew Association and other candidates challenging the administrative order passed by the airlines equating the female cabin crew assigned to flight duties with their male counterparts.

The court declined to dismiss Air India's order on December 27, 2005 that there was nothing arbitrary, unreasonable or irrational if the male cabin crew was asked to serve on a flight which has a female colleague as an In-Flight Supervisor(IFS).

The petitioners had contended that IFS is a promotional post which is the sole preserve of the male cabin crew and the administrative order passed by Air India was illegal, unconstitutional and contrary to the earlier judgements of the Apex court.

The contention of the pre-1997 batch of male cabin crew was that the IFS is the boss-in-charge of the cabin crew while the terms and conditions assure that the male staff can enjoy this status.

Besides, the Supreme Court has endorsed and it cannot be altered to their disadvantage, they added.

A bench comprising Justices S Murlidhar and Mukul Mudgal ruled that there was nothing discriminatory in Air India's administrative order. In fact it removes the possibility of the male cabin crew performing the function of IFS and provide a chance for their female colleagues to enjoy the status.

The court ruled that Air-India's order removes the 'Men Only' tag from the post and enables the female crew to break the 'glass ceiling' from a constitutional perspective which it cannot find fault with.

The litigation involves the issue of service rules for male and female cabin crew of the Country's International Carrier Air India.

Earlier female cabin crew had approached the Supreme Court for Air India's discriminatory approach in their service terms. Air hostesses had complained that their retirement age was lower than their male counterparts which were called Assistant Flight Pursers.

Air India's new policy announced on June 5, 1997 brought about a rationalisation of the posts of male and female cabin crew. The female cabin crew was allowed to undertake flying duties up to the age of 58 which was implemented with effect from November 21, 2003.

The Order passed by Air India on December 27, 2005 decided that the ''Executive female cabin crew will henceforth be eligible to be considered for the post of In-Flight Supervisor along with the Male Executive Cabin Crew.'' The litigation arose at this order on behest of the male cabin crew recruited earlier to June 5, 1997(pre-1997 male cabin crew').

The pre-1997 male cabin crew have also challenged the earlier court order which allows the female cabin crew to fly till the age of 58 which is still pending in the court.

UNI

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