The Karnataka High Court has said that since Air India Limited is now a private Company owned by M/s. Talace Pvt. Ltd., the grievance of the employees can be redressed only before the competent authority which can deal with the question and not under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
A single judge bench of Justice R Devdas made the observation while dismissing a petition filed by petitioner Padmavathi Subramaniyan and two other employees of Air India Limited. The petitioner had approached the court with a grievance in matter of seniority.
The respondents including the Union of India raised a preliminary objection about maintainability of the petition. It was said that when once the Air India Limited is privatised and the entire shareholdings are disinvested from the hands of the Government of India and a Private Company has taken over, the grievance of the employees of the Air India Limited cannot be redressed directly under a writ jurisdiction of this Court.
Reference was made to the Delhi High Court’s judgment in Dr.Subramanian Swamy Vs. Union of India & Others, which had an occasion to consider the issue regarding disinvestment process. The Union of India had placed factual information before the Delhi High Court in the matter of disinvestment of Air India.
Assistant Solicitor General, Shanthi Bhushan pointed from the order that the disinvestment of the shares of the Government of India has been 100% in favour of M/s.Talace Private Limited.
Following which the court said,
” It is clear that Air India Limited is now a private Company owned by M/s.Talace Pvt. Ltd. The earlier position of Air India Limited which was a fully owned Government of India Company, has changed and it is now a Private Limited company. Therefore, the grievance of the petitioner in the matter of seniority can be redressed only before the competent authority which can deal with the question and not under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.”
It added, “The writ petition stands dismissed, granting liberty to the petitioners to approach the competent authority to redress their grievance in the matter of seniority.”
Case Title: Ms Padmavathi Subramaniyan v The Ministry Of Civil Aviation
Case No: Writ Petition No.21448 Of 2021
Appearance: Senior Advocate M.T.Naniah, A/W Advocate Vishnu Hegde For Petitioner; AFG Shanthi Bhushan H, For R1; Advocate Sreenath V.K, For R2 & R3; Mrs. Kanika Chakrabarti, (Party-In-Person)