End strike or face contempt of court: HC to striking AI pilots

Air India
New Delhi, May 17: Directing striking Air India pilots to call off their agitation immediately or face contempt action, the Delhi High Court today dismissed their plea, saying they cannot seek remedy by "wilfully and flagrantly" disobeying court orders.

Rejecting the petition 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." "You cannot take advantage of the appeal as you are in contempt," the court said during hearing on the petition by IPG which has challenged the order of the single judge declaring the strike as illegal, saying it was done without any authority.

A bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher asked the IPG to comply with the May 9 single judge's order which restrained it from continuing with the "illegal strike" by reporting sick, and staging demonstrations.

"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)," the bench said.

"We have no doubt that the members of the appellant (IPG) are and continue to be in violation of the order of the single judge. Since we are not entertaining the appeal and the order of the single judge stands, the members of the appellant would be well advised to comply with the orders of the single judge failing which it would be open to the single judge to proceed against them under the Contempt of Court Act," the bench also said.

The pilots are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression. The airline management has sacked 71 pilots including bearers of the IPG.


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