Pilots seek action against DGCA official after being harassed

Lalit Gupta, the Joint Director General of Civil Aviation, had as many as ten pilots grounded. What started with a mere mistake of getting a DGCA official’s designation wrong has now turned into the Pilots Union asking to seek action against that very official.

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The debacle started with the DGCA releasing a draft CAR (Civil Aviation Regulation) stating that pilots now had to give a one year notice period instead of six months before changing airlines. On the DGCA website, pilots had the liberty of posting their comments giving views on the draft CAR and one or more of the pilots got Lalit Gupta’s designation wrong. This minuscule mistake got a sharp and hostile response from the Joint DGCA Directorate General who claimed that the pilots were ‘in an absent state of mind’ and were ‘not in fit condition to fly’. Why? Because they spelled his designation incorrectly.

As many as 10 Jet Airways pilots have had a police complaint filed against them for allegedly posting derogatory comments against a DGCA official.

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As of 8th June, the Indian Pilots Union consisting of National Aviators Guild (Jet Airways Pilot’s Union), Indian Pilots Guild and Indian Commercial Pilots Association have written to Ashok Gajapati Raju (Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation) on the misconduct of Lalit Gupta. According to sources, in the letter they stated that many members of the public, including senior pilots have submitted strong objections on the policy which ‘brazenly aims to curtail job opportunities for pilots in order to protect the vested, commercial interests of certain unscrupulous airline operators’. The CAR to increase the notice period to one year is mere harassment of the pilots, and is being used in the name of public interest. The airlines make pilots sign bonds worth lakhs of rupees in order to insure that the pilots stay with the airline for a certain number of years. Then why does the regulator (which is the DGCA) need to get involved between an employer and employee where the regulator is openly favouring the employer and using its powers to coerce the employee to accept certain conditions?

In addition, some other airline pilots who have expressed their personal views on the matter on private internet chats have been reported to the Delhi Police and been harassed.

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The Pilots Union has thus requested for the ‘immediate suspension of and departmental action against the DGCA official who has misused his official powers to criminally intimidate, coerce and threaten members of the public’.



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