The appeals came up for hearing before a bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh and have been listed for proceedings on August 24 at the request of Air India's counsel.
Air India Wednesday approached the Delhi High Court challenging a single judge’s order quashing the national carrier’s decision to terminate services of pilots, both permanent and on contract, and directing their reinstatement. The appeals came up for hearing before a bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh and have been listed for proceedings on August 24 at the request of Air India’s counsel.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Air India, submitted that a second group of appeals is coming up for hearing next week and these pleas be also heard with them. Air India has challenged the June 1 order of the single judge which had also ordered that back wages would have to be paid to the reinstated pilots.
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The high court had said that the back wages, including allowances, have to be paid at par with what in-service pilots were receiving and in accordance with the government rules. It had also said that extension of contract, in the future, of the contractual pilots would be at the discretion of Air India in view of their satisfactory performance.
The order was passed in over 40 petitions by pilots whose services were terminated by Air India on August 13 last year. The pilots whose jobs were terminated had initially moved the court in July last year seeking directions to Air India to accept withdrawal of the resignations tendered by them. However, on August 13, 2020, Air India issued termination letters to several pilots including those who had wanted to withdraw their resignations. Subsequently, the pilots moved the high court against the August 13, 2020, decision of Air India.
Some pilots had initially tendered their resignations over delay by Air India in disbursing pay and allowances. They had also contended that neither were their notice periods reduced nor any no-objection certificate issued to them after receipt of resignation. They had further contended that the resignations were subsequently withdrawn, but the withdrawal was not accepted by Air India.