New Delhi: Slamming the Air India (AI) management and Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) for their rigid attitude, the Delhi High Court appointed a counsel to assist them in breaking the deadlock. The ongoing strike by AI pilots entered the seventh day on Tuesday.

"It seems that you are also not interested in getting the strike called off," a division bench headed by Justice B D Ahmed told Lalit Bhasin, the counsel for the Air India Limited.

"This court does not want to be assisted by a partisan person like you. We will appoint an amicus curaie to assist us on the legal issue," the bench told Bhasin, disapproving of his arguments on behalf of the airline management.

Senior advocate K T S Tulsi, who represented the ICPA, said, "We have filed an appeal against the order of the single-judge initiating contempt proceedings against us. I urge this court to hear my appeal with the criminal contempt proceedings on Wednesday.”

The bench asked Tulsi if the striking pilots were ready to relent and budge from their stand to continue the strike.

The court, which appointed Siddharth Luthra as the amicus curiae, said, "The time is running against you (ICPA). You consult your client and report back to us at 2.15 pm on Tuesday."

Tulsi, however, sought to assure the court that strike can be called off within two hours provided the Air India management takes a sympathetic and conciliatory approach towards resolving the stalemate.

Meanwhile, with Air India pilots and management at loggerheads over the issue, the Delhi High Court’s decision may bring the ongoing strike to an end. Previously too the court had given strict instructions to pilots to end the strike.

Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said “Any conversation with pilots is not possible till the time they call of their strike.”

However, Vayalar Ravi said that the government will not give in to the pressure being enforced by pilots. He added that the loss to the national carrier and allegations of mismanagement were two different issues and the Justice Dharamakari Committee is looking into the wage related demands of the pilots.

Ravi also slammed the rumours of removing Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav and partial lockout of AI.

Meanwhile, BJP MP Shahnawaz Hussain held the Union government responsible for creating strike like atmosphere in AI to give benefits to private airlines.

JPN/Agencies