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IA air hostesses approach SC

Five Indian Airlines air hostesses, who were grounded for putting on excessive weight, have approached the Apex Court challenging the Delhi HC order which has upheld the airlines' decision.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2008 20:55 IST

Five Indian Airlines air hostesses, who were grounded for putting on excessive weight, have approached the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court's order which has upheld the airlines' decision.

Filing the petition through their advocate Arvind Shrama, the air hostesses alleged that the High Court dismissed their plea without going into the core issue involved in the case.

The High Court on June 4, had dismissed their petition saying that there was no unreasonableness or arbitrariness in the airlines' decision.

"Grace and concessions are not matters of legal right. They are matters of policy and we do not find any illegality in the decision," the court had said.

The High Court in its judgement had emphasised that the job of air hostess being "strenuous" in nature one needed to be physically fit.

"The air crew has to be athletic to deal with any emergency and for that he or she has to be in good shape. That is the reason that not only maximum limit but minimum weight limits are also prescribed," the Court had said, adding that neither anorexic nor abysmally fat people are fit for the job.

"The nature of work of air hostesses is strenuous in nature and the weight check is relevant in relation to their physical fitness," the Bench said.

The Bench pointed out that in the highly competitive industry of civil aviation, the company has to focus on the personality of its employees.

"Statistics reveal that overweight persons face constant challenges to their emotions which include remarks from strangers, discrimination at work, lower self-esteem and poor body image," the High Court had said.

The rules prescribe different weight limits according to their height and age. For an 18-year-old air hostess with a height of 152 cm, the maximum weight permissible is 50 kg while air hostesses in the age group of 26 to 30 and a height of 152 cm, the weight limit is 56 kg.

Challenging the order, the air hostesses pointed out in their petition that there is no connection between weight and performance of duty when one is medically fit. Weight is not a criteria of fitness.

They also opposed the Airlines' circular of withdrawing permissible overweight limit of 3 kg over and above the upper limit as laid down for the cabin crew.