Delhi High Court dismisses Plea challenging allowance reduction for Air India employees

Air India Law Insider

Munmun Kaur

Published On: February 09, 2022 at 13:17 IST 

The Delhi High Court dismissed the Petitions challenging the office Order which reduced the allowances of the Air India employees.

The High Court observed that there was no discrimination rather there was a justifiable ground in reducing the allowances for the pilots and engineers.

The Court was dealing with a Petition filed by two associations namely India Aircraft Engineers’ Association and Air India Aircraft Engineers’ Association.

Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde appearing for the Petitioners submitted that the said Order was passed unilaterally without consultation and was in violation of Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution of India.

It was contended that unequal cuts in the gross pay due to economic measures imposed by All India Engineering Services Ltd. had no rationale with respect to imposing different deductions for the employees working under it.

The Petitioners sought the relief that the Respondent be directed to immediately stop the cuts in the future and further a direction be given to the Respondents to repay the salary and other allowances deducted in the name of economic measures from the members of the Petitioner Associations.

Another Writ Petition was filed by the Executive Pilots Association. Senior Advocate Vivek Kohli appearing for the Petitioners submitted that the impugned Orders were issued to effectuate a cost-cutting exercise in order to save Air India from extinction. He added that the purported justification of the Orders was the disruption in airlines’ business caused by the Covid- 19 pandemic.

Justice V Kameswar Rao hearing the matter observed that it was for the Centre and Air India to determine, by taking into account relevant considerations, what ought to be the appropriate reduction in allowances. He further added that as long as the reduction is not palpably arbitrary, the scope of judicial review was very limited.

The High Court also pointed out that only Aircraft Maintenance Engineers had approached the Court but other employees in the general category have not approached the Court. “The policy cannot be set to naught only at the behest of a few employees, that too in such compelling circumstances,” the High Court said.

Ultimately, the High Court dismissed the Petitions while refusing to exercise the power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

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