HC upholds grounding of obese airhostesses

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New Delhi, June 4 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today upheld the policy of Indian Airlines to ground overweight airhostesses.

The court had on May 5 reserved its judgment on a bunch of petitions of Indian Airlines' airhostesses challenging their grounding for being overweight.

Hearing the petition, a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri dismissed the plea.

Arguing for the petitioners counsel Arvind Sharma challenged the Airlines' circular of withdrawing permissible overweight limit of 3 kg over and above the upper limit as laid down for the cabin crew. He contended that the action was arbitrary and illegal.

''There is no connection between weight and performance of duty when one is medically fit. Weight is not a criteria of fitness,'' he said.

The petitioners had challenged the judgment of the single bench of the High Court which had upheld the Airlines' policy of grounding overweight air hostesses.

Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium appearing for the Airlines had contended that the action taken against them was justified.

''It was clearly mentioned in their contract that their job could be terminated in case they put on weight above the permissible limit and they have just been grounded on a condition that they would be allowed to fly after losing weight,'' Subramanium had said.

A single bench on May 31 last year had dismissed their plea, saying that "keeping in view this kind of job performance, the air hostesses are asked to battle their bulge, control their girth and keep at desired level the affluence of their body weight as per the norms".

It had further said, "In this era of cut throat competition, no airlines can afford to remain lax in any department whatsoever, be it the personality of its crew members, their physical fitness in all respects or the air worthiness of the aircraft or in relation to other facilities such as catering etc." Maintaining that the air hostesses should keep their body weight within the prescribed limits, the court had said, "it is not understood how it is in any way unfair, unreasonable and insulting to their womanhood. It is not hostesses alone which are put to these rigours.'' UNI SSS PK KP1636

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