Better to Keep in Mind: Aircrafts are Flown by Pilots, not by Courts

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Air India should not have preferred contempt of court proceedings against its pilots in the Delhi High Court as it makes it a habitual litigant against its star employees. The Supreme Court has unambiguous rulings that the State/ Public sector should act as ideal employers and desist from dragging the employees to litigations.

When the pilots are in strike over issues relating to their career progression, it would have been better had the court not intervened and instead of ordering the pilots to join work, because their strike was causing “huge loss to the exchequer”, it could have ordered the Union Government and Air India to act as ideal employers in the light of the Supreme Court rulings and to proceed for settlement with the pilots.

Now when the Air India is so eager to settle the issue amicably with the pilots that civil aviation minister Ajit Singh has expressed readiness to reinstate all the 101 sacked pilots, it is clear that the authorities have understood their follies in creating the atmosphere of confrontation. They have precipitated the impasse by making the strike ‘illegal’ and by sacking 101 pilots on the flimsy ground of their strike being ‘illegal’.

The minister has declared, “I am ready to talk on all issues only after they join work, not before”. Why? What problem is there in talking the issues to usher in the end of the strike? The minister’s ego satisfaction is not more important than restoration of congenial fight environment.

The pilots should not be subjected to repressive steps that want them succumb to tactics of demoralization. Extinguishment of the strike through court orders should never be the choice in respect of the pilots. It is better to be appreciated that aircrafts are flown by the pilots, not by the courts or their orders. Pilots need peace of mind to concentrate on their job, which is as intricate as immensely responsible. Court verdicts cannot give them that peace.

If the minister is not capable of managing his portfolio properly, courts should not come to his rescue. The air passengers have the right to fly safely and so, the flight environment should never be endangered by putting pilots to demoralization.

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