13 Dec, 2007, 1857 hrs IST,
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will decide whether pilots are workmen and if they can claim benefits under law in case of premature termination of their employment.
An apex court bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhan on a petition filed by Jet Airways today stayed a Bombay High Court order directing the Central Government to refer a dispute between the airline and its sacked pilot senior commander Cedric D'Silva to the Central Industrial Tribunal.
It also issued notice to the Union Government through Ministry of Labour, along with Regional Labour Commissioner, Conciliation Officer, and D'Silva -- who had challenged Jet Airways' order terminating his services as a pilot before the High Court.
The High Court had observed that the existing position in law was that all pilots, whether co-pilot or chief pilot, were workmen as they performed highly skilled technical work.
"The two national airlines, namely Air India and Indian Airlines (now merged) continue to enter into settlements under the ID (Industrial Disputes) Act with their pilots, including senior commanders...," it added.
Opposing the High Court order, Jet Airways in its appeal said senior commanders, being pilots-in-command, were incharge of the entire crew of the aircraft and also exercised full managerial and supervisory powers with regard to ground personnel, government authorities and even passengers.