Case Title: Airlines Allied Services Limited v. Ashok Kumar Malhotra
Date of Decision: September 20, 2023
Case Number: RFA 433/2016
Coram: Hon’ble Mr. Justice V. Kameswar Rao
This case involves a review petition filed by the respondent (Ashok Kumar Malhotra) against a judgment dated April 6, 2021, by the Delhi High Court. In the earlier judgment, the High Court had partially allowed the appeal filed by the appellant (Airlines Allied Services Limited), setting aside the Flying Allowance/Executive Allowance granted to the respondent by the Trial Court.
The respondent, a pilot, had filed a suit against the appellant, claiming various allowances, including Flying Allowance/Executive Allowance and Other Payments. The Trial Court partially ruled in favor of the respondent, granting him some of the claimed allowances. The appellant appealed the decision, which led to the aforementioned judgment.
The primary issue in the review petition was the interpretation of the contract between the parties, specifically regarding Flight Related Allowances and whether they should be considered part of the respondent’s salary. Additionally, the review petition challenges whether the High Court correctly considered the admission made by the appellant in its written statement.
- The respondent contended that the High Court failed to consider the appellant’s admission that Flight Related Allowances were fixed after an amendment to FTEA in 2006.
- The respondent argued that Flight Related Allowances were part of his salary, supported by salary slips and contract amendments.
- The respondent argued that the High Court did not fully consider the impact of the contract amendment, which included the concept of equal pay for equal work.
- The appellant argued that the respondent was unfit to fly, justifying the non-payment of Flight Related Allowances.
- The appellant countered that the review petition lacked merit and did not fall under the grounds for review as per Order XLVII CPC (Civil Procedure Code).
- The appellant argued that the respondent’s attempt to review the case was merely an attempt to reopen settled facts and reinterpret the contract.
Observation and Analysis
The High Court had previously considered the interpretation of the employment contract, the nature of allowances, and the fitness of the respondent to fly. The judgment explained that Flight Related Allowances were not part of the salary due to the distinction in the contract, and the respondent’s unfitness for flying justified the non-payment of such allowances.
Decision of the Court
The High Court emphasized that the interpretation of a contract, which was the primary issue in contention, could not be a subject for a review petition unless there was an error apparent on the face of the record. After analyzing the relevant contract provisions, the court concluded that the respondent was not entitled to Flight Related Allowances due to being declared unfit for flying. It further concluded that the review petition did not present any new evidence or error apparent on the face of the record, which would warrant a review under the Civil Procedure Code. The court upheld its earlier judgment and dismissed the review petition.
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Written by – Ananya Chaudhary