Mangalore crash: HC stays compensation order

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SummaryLabour court has asked Air India to pay Serbian pilot Rs 4 crore.

In a setback to the family of Serbian pilot Captain Zlatko Glusica, who was killed in the May 22, 2010, Air India (AI) flight crash in Mangalore, the Bombay High Court (HC) Wednesday stayed a lower court order granting a compensation of over Rs 4 crore.

Air India had challenged the October 13, 2013, order of the Mumbai Labour Commissioner to deposit Rs 4.63 crore with 12 per cent interest and a penalty of 50 per cent. Rs 2.77 crore has been already given to the Belgrade-based family of the pilot who was flying the ill-fated aircraft.

Appearing before Justice R P Sondurbaldota, AI counsel Firoz Bharucha contended that the Labour Commissioner erred in computing the compensation amount. He said Glusica was drawing a salary of $9,170, not $11,000 as held by the labour court. Bharucha said the lower court failed to appreciate that the compensation has to be calculated on the basis of actual salary received by Glusica, not on the basis of the amount paid by AI to the contractor through whom the pilot was hired.

He also contended that there was no question of paying interest or penalty as interest should be calculated from the day compensation is decided, not from the date of accident.

The HC was also told that AI deposited Rs 3.32 crore with the labour court on September 27, 2012, much before its verdict, and therefore, the rate of currency exchange — $ to Re — of that period shall apply.

Lawyer for the Glusica family B K Ashok pleaded for expediting the matter. The court, however, did not specify a time limit.

AI has said it hired Glusica from a contractor on January 7, 2009, on a monthly salary of $9,170. He was killed with five other crew members and 152 passengers when the AI Boeing VT-AXV 737-800 from Dubai crashed in Mangalore.

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