Delhi High Court has rejected the ‘simple’ apology of the nine top office bearers of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA). They are facing criminal contempt proceedings for “open defiance” of the court’s order to withdraw strike.
The court enquired whether the pilots were “ready to publish a detailed apology in prominent newspapers and do community service”. The association had continued with the strike for 10 days (April 27-May 6, 2011) even after the court’s repeated ultimatum, asking them to rejoin work.
Noting that the conduct “smacked of sheer arrogance”, the bench told the pilots: “It’s a slap on the face of the judiciary....” The court, after hearing the arguments of lawyer Sidharth Luthra, the amicus curiae, said prima facie all of them were guilty of “lowering the dignity and authority of the court by willful disobedience”.
ICPA president AS Bhinder, general secretary Rishabh Kapoor and regional secretary Amitesh Ahuja and six other pilots have been asked to consider the suggestion of public apology and community service by next Friday.
Air-India management’s counsel Lalit Bhasin urged the court to drop the contempt proceedings, saying a settlement had been reached. In their defence, the pilots said they wanted to end the strike but were prevented from doing so by the general body of strike committee.