Supreme Court: Air India Is Not Part Of State, Dismisses Petition

"Supreme Court: Air India Is Not Part Of State, Dismisses Petition"

The Supreme Court’s ruling states that Air India, post-disinvestment, is no longer considered a state entity, thereby barring the allowance of any fundamental rights violation case.

Article 12 of the Indian Constitution

Article 12 of the Indian Constitution defines the word “state.” It defines it as “the state,” which includes the government and parliament of India, the government and legislature of each of the states, and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the government of India.

This definition covers the executive and legislative branches of both the Union and each state in India, as well as all local or other authorities under the governance or supervision of the Indian government within Indian territory.

The Facts of the Case

This case before the Supreme Court was an appeal where the plaintiffs contested the ruling of the Bombay High Court, which echoed the same stance as the Apex Court.

The Bombay High Court’s verdict stated that while the petitions were initially considered within its jurisdiction, Air India’s privatization removed the court’s authority to issue writs, orders, or directives to the company.

In the petition filed before the Bombay High Court, certain employees of Air India Limited raised concerns over issues such as pay stagnation, a lack of employee promotions, and delays in the disbursement of wage revision arrears, among other grievances.

Supreme Court’s Ruling

The Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice BR Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta, concluded that the writ petition is not maintainable because “Air India” no longer falls within the definition of “state” as outlined in Article 12, given that Air India ceased to be a government entity following its disinvestment.

“We do not find any reason to take a different view from the one taken by the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court in sustaining the preliminary objection qua maintainability of the writ petitions preferred by the appellants and rejecting the same as being not maintainable. The appeals are dismissed. No order as to costs,” the Apex Court concluded.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon