Mumbai The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and pilot unions have urged the Delhi High Court to dismiss Akasa Air’s writ petition that seeks penal action against 36 pilots.

The unions want the court to hear them before passing an order in Akasa Air’s petition.

The Mumbai-headquartered airline moved the court earlier this month seeking penal action against 36 pilots who left the airline without serving the six-month notice period. Along with its written submission, Akasa Air has also proposed a “draft order” for court’s consideration that includes a direction to DGCA to take action against erring pilots in future.

The Federation of Indian Pilots (FIP) and Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) have opposed the airline’s plea as their appeals against the notice period rule are pending before the court.

As per the DGCA’s civil aviation requirement (CAR) of 2017, pilots are required to give a minimum six-month notice for resignation. The two unions have challenged the rule calling it arbitrary and unconstitutional. 

Accusing the airline of malafide intent and forum shopping, IPG has said its own writ petition against the six-month notice period rule is pending adjudication before the court. It is imperative that Akasa Air’s petition is either dismissed or tagged with union petition for proper adjudication, it said. DGCA too has asked the court to dismiss the airline’s plea.

FIP has backed DGCA’s argument that it can’t adjudicate on matters related to employee contracts. FIP has said no relief be granted to Akasa Air until a decision is made in pending appeals.

Akasa Air has, however, disputed the regulator’s stance.

Airline’s response

“The DGCA’s argument that it cannot intervene in the matter as it lacks adjudicatory powers is without merit,” Akasa Air said in its filing. This is because the DGCA is not being called upon to enforce contractual provisions but only the 2017 rule read with the interim order passed by the Delhi High Court.

The airline further said the 2017 rule has been examined by the Supreme Court and the High Court in various decisions. It is consistently held that the 2017 rule is founded on public interest and aims to prevent harassment to passengers, the airline has said.