As the strike by Air India pilots' entered its sixth day, the Delhi high court on Monday toughened its stand giving the pilots one last chance to report to work or face "serious consequences".
AI has barely managed to operate 40 flights due to the strike by more than 800 pilots since last Tuesday.
"Continue the strike at your own peril. Today we have taken a liberal stand. Tomorrow it might not be the same. Remember the passengers are being put to severe inconvenience", a bench headed by justice BD Ahmed warned three top office bearers of Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) who are facing contempt proceedings for defying the court's direction to resume work.
The court was responding to the request by lawyers representing ICPA who sought time till Tuesday morning to consider the court's direction to forthwith withdraw strike and accept a peace formula put forward by it in consultation with the management.
The government too toughened its stand with civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi ruling out a fresh round of talks.
"I have already stated that there will be no talks with the pilots till they are on strike," Ravi said.
He acknowledged that there had been "no proper integration between AI and erstwhile Indian Airlines" as stated by the pilots. The government will abide by the court's order, he added.
After two rounds of meetings between the ICPA and AI management outside the courtroom, the court put forward a four-point formula.
According to the formula, first the ICPA had to call off the strike and the demand for 75 fixed flying hours allowance would be considered by CS Dharmadhikari panel along with the demands for recognition of ICPA and reinstatement of dismissed pilots.
(With inputs from Tushar Srivastava)