The Bombay High Court gave employees of Air India and other unions permission to stay in their Kalina staff quarters until the end of Ganesh Chaturthi festivities on September 24.
Three employee unions, the Aviation Industry Employees Guild (AIEG), Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU), and All India Service Engineers Association (AISEA), challenged eviction notices directing them to leave their quarters at Kalina, but a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik refused to overturn them.
The employees were permitted by the Bench to leave the area, however not until the festival festivities were complete.
Ganesh Chaturthi is widely and fervently observed in Bombay, hence the staff is granted time off till September 24. They may stay in the quarters at that time. Not after that, though. There won’t be any coercive action taken against individuals who are still living in the residence until September 24,” the Bench ruled.
After receiving instructions on the retention of office space from the Ministry of Civil Aviation in September, Air India’s 1,800 employees who were living in staff housing in suburban Mumbai anticipated being evicted.
The airline requested an assurance from the personnel that they would leave the staff housing within six months of the airline company’s disinvestment.
The labour commissioner was asked to mediate the conflict between the parties after the employee unions declared a strike.
However, the airline business sent eviction warnings to the employees before the conciliation officer could submit a report.
The employees were forced to seek the High Court as a result. According to the guidelines for Air India allotment, the accommodation was supplied till retirement or end of employment, according to the claim.
One of the arguments made was that the airline could not request a flat vacation until the mediation process was complete.
The corporation informed the Court throughout the hearing, which took place over the course of more than a month, that it will not take any coercive action against its employees for failing to vacate the premises by the predetermined time.
The corporation promised that if the workers didn’t leave the property, it would take the necessary legal action in accordance with the Public Premises Act.
Out of the 1,800 employees, 70% willingly completed the undertaking, and after that, about 300 inhabitants left the property, the corporation told the court. Therefore, the problem only affected the other residents.
On the case’s merits, the firm submitted twice.
It argued, first and foremost, that the writ petition could not be upheld because Air India was not a “State” as defined by Article 12 of the Constitution.
The second argument made was that the petitioner-employees were only licensees and had no ownership stake in the property.
The Court was informed that the attempts at conciliation between the parties had failed after long hearings from the parties. The Bench then went on to decide the case on the merits.
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