A two-judge appeal bench of Calcutta high court on Friday shot down dismissal of a 44-year-old Air India (AI) airhostess in 2001 for not maintaining her body weight limit.
Allowing the appeal of Nepa Dhar, justice P K Ray and justice M K Sinha directed AI to pay all her service arrears since 2001, set up a medical board for her test and if she was found to be unfit for air service, give her alternative suitable job in ground service within three months.
In a 95-page judgement, the judges held that if Dhar was found to be overweight due any disease, as per its own service rules, AI was under an obligation to set up medical board for her examination and allot her alternative suitable ground job.
The judges noted that Bulbul Dagman, another airhostess, was also found to be over weight, but AI allotted her alternative job in ground service.
Quashing Dhar's dismissal order issued by AI, the judges said that it was not only arbitrary and discriminatory, but also in violation of AI's own service conditions. AI's advocate R N Majumdar said that he would appeal to Supreme Court.
Dhar had joined AI as an airhostess in 1987. After 10 years, she started suffering from 'altitude phobia' for which she started taking medicine prescribed by her doctor.
The medicine had some side effects, which increased body weight of Dhar, who was also advised to give up flight service.
AI authorities were aware of Dhar's health problem, but neither any medical board was set up nor any alternative job in ground service was offered to her.
In 2001, AI terminated Dhar's service on the ground that she had failed to maintain her body weight for in flight service.
Dhar then made a representation and also asked for allotting her alternative job in ground service, but AI also rejected it.
She moved the high court.
In 2004, a single-judge held that Dhar's petition was not maintainable, but directed AI to allot her alternative suitable job in ground service.
Challenging the verdict Dhar appealed to a two-judge bench, which heard her appeal after six years.