Turning the heat on striking Air India pilots, the Delhi high court on Friday initiated contempt of court proceedings against them terming their "utter defiance" of the court order to call off the agitation as "brazen and smacking of sheer arrogance".
The high court also refused to lift the ban imposed by Air India management on Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) spearheading the strike by around 800 pilots affiliated to it.
Justice Geeta Mittal, who had issued contempt notices to three ICPA office bearers yesterday on a plea by Air India management, began contempt proceedings suo motu today, taking cognisance of media reports of pilots' continuing the strike and causing difficulties to air passengers.
"It is evident that the conduct of pilots is brazen, wilful and smacks of sheer arrogance," Justice Mittal said while referring the matter to the Chief Justice of the high court for further steps related to contempt proceedings by a division bench.
"There is complete lack of respect for the court orders," she said adding "this conduct of pilots is covered by the definition of the criminal contempt of court" and "such persons are liable to face appropriate proceedings under the law."
Maintaining that the pilots' continued strike is in "utter defiance of court order," Justice Mittal said "it is noteworthy that despite repeated orders, the pilots have defied them and their conduct is exasperating. They have undermined the authority, dignity and majesty of the court."
Earlier during the day, Justice S Murlidhar refused to give a sympathetic hearing to the striking pilots' plea to lift the ban on ICPA.