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Air India, pilots disagree in court


New Delhi : The Air India management and pilots Wednesday disagreed in the Delhi High Court on the composition of a panel proposed to consider the reinstatement of 101 pilots sacked during a recent strike.

The pilots sought the inclusion of an independent member in the committee but the management did not agree.

Justice Reva Khetrapal gave two options during the hearing.

“First, I hold over the suit till the time the committee decides the reinstatement of terminated pilots. And second, I will allow you to withdraw the suit but there will be independent mediator in the committee,” Justice Khetrapal said.

The airline management rejected both the options.

Advocate Lalit Bhasin, appearing for Air India, earlier came up with an eight-point proposal which was later withdrawn by the management.

The pilots sought appointment of an independent member, preferably a retired judge of the Supreme Court or high court, in the committee constituted by the management to decide the issue of reinstatement of terminated pilots. But the management rejected the proposal.

Bhasin said: “We have suggested a three-member committee and no one from outside would be allowed into the committee, as it is our internal matter.”

The management has constituted a committee consisting two board-level directors and one executive director to look into the reinstatement of sacked pilots.

The court also asked the management to pay the salaries of pilots who claimed they were not paid for five months.

“At least some amount of salary must be released to them for their livelihood,” the court said and directed Bhasin to talk to the management about the issue.

The court would next hear the case July 23.