Mumbai: In a relief to Air India employees, the Bombay High Court on Friday restrained the firm from deducting penal rent and damage charges till Feb 22.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne restrained the airline while hearing three separate petitions filed by All India Service Engineers Association, Air Corporation Employees Union and Air Corporation Employees Union, seeking stay on the notice issued by the airline.
Last week, the airline issued notices to employees who haven’t vacated their residential quarters at suburban Kalina, stating that penal rent of Rs10-15 lakh would be deducted from their December salaries.
The employees and the airline have been at loggerheads over vacating the quarters since last year. The airline had issued eviction notices, asking employees to vacate the premises by Sept 2022.
The HC had granted some relief but granted liberty to the airline to initiate action under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Tenants) Act. Considering the fresh notices, the employees once again approached the HC.
Advocates for the employees – AD Shetty and Mihir Desai – submitted that notices have been issued to the petitioners that penal rent and an amount of Rs15 lakh would be deducted from the salary of each worker.
The court was informed that Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the Centre and Kevic Setalvad, appearing for Air India, were not available for arguments. Hence, time was sought by the Centre and the airline.
The HC said, “As the time is sought on behalf of Air India, it shall also not deduct penal rent and damage charges till the next date.” Advocate for the airline made a statement that the “letters issued to the petitioners would not be implemented till the next date”. The HC has kept the matter for hearing on Feb 22.
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