Wednesday, July 14, 2021

'Show us facts and figures', Bombay HC tells Federation of Indian Pilots, adjourns its PIL for 'adequate compensation'

Mumbai: Bombay high court on Wednesday sought an additional affidavit with “facts and figures” from the Federation of Indian Pilots (FIP) about the work pilots did and are doing in operating Vande Bharat flights, the pay structure, and other information within two weeks and it would then hear their public interest litigation for ‘adequate compensation' and priority Covid-19 vaccination.

Their senior counsel Prasad Dhakephalkar pointed to work being done by the pilots in ferrying people, medicines, and other necessities and in operating Vande Bharat flights to bring back stranded Indians, with several losing their lives to Covid-19 while doing their work, and said, “they are almost like front line workers."

The HC bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni said, "We want facts and figures to come before us on record in two weeks with salary structure, their duty, how many flights they flew on Vande Bharat mission, etc and then we will hear and decide." The HC posted the PIL to July 28 with permission for an additional affidavit from FIP.

The FIP filed the PIL for pilots who have lost their lives after getting infected with Covid during the discharge of their duties. The pilots of Air India, part of this federation and the PIL, have also sought priority in vaccination and insurance cover.

Pilots Association (ICPA), unions of plots of erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines respectively, have repeatedly been petitioning AI and the aviation ministry on these issues. Several government organisations have these policies in place for their frontline workers. Private carrier IndiGo covers a deceased pilot to the sum of Rs 5 crore.

"However, to date, there is no scheme for adequate compensation to pilots’ (families) in case of their demise. There is no insurance scheme or any other such scheme providing a safety net to pilots," the PIL said.

14/07/21 Swati Deshpande/Times of India

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