14 July:The Bombay High Court has asked a group of pilots to delete the name of Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel from a petition regarding suspension of their license.
The order was passed by a division bench of Justices R M S Khandeparkar and Amjad Sayyed asking Pradeep Saini and seven other helicopter pilots to delete Patel’s name as he was not directly involved in the case.
The pilots had moved the High Court, challenging the suspension of their licenses for a month after they had resigned without giving six months prior notice as per the Civil Aviation Rules (CAR).
The pilots argued that in a letter dated on 5th June 2008 the Civil Aviation Ministry along with Patel have given approval to the Director General of Civil Aviation for suspending their license.
According to the petition, Saini, a retired officer from the Indian Army, had joined the Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd in Santa Cruz airport in Mumbai in July 2005.
Though there was no written agreement, Saini, through an oral agreement, then consented to render his service for two years.After completion of two years, he resigned along with seven other pilots. The DGCA, however, issued a show cause notice to them for not giving a six months prior notice.
The DGCA in 2005 had issued guidelines that an action by pilots including en-masse resignation as a concerted action, which would lead to last minute cancellation of flights and passengers being stranded would be viewed as an act against public interest inviting action under the CAR.
The CAR also prescribed that such pilots must give a notice of at least six months to the airline employing them before the resignation takes effect.
Saini, while replying to the show-cause notice, stated that the helicopter company does not operate any scheduled air services nor did they have any last minute cancellation of any flights and no passengers are stranded on account of his resignation.
He requested the Court to quash the order dated on 5th June 2008 by the DGCA, following approval from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Patel, suspending their license.
When the matter was heard last week, Additional Solicitor General Rajendra Raghuvanshi had objected to this and stated that Patel did not have any relevance to the case, which the Court accepted and directed the petitioners to delete the Minister’s name. DD NEWS