Bombay HC tells Centre to file affidavit on PIL against petrol hike

The Bombay High Court asked Centre, Petroleum Ministry and Finance Ministry, IOC, HPCL and BPCL to file an affidavit explaining their stand on increasing the price of petrol by 20th June

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed Centre, Petroleum Ministry and Finance Ministry to file an affidavit by 20th June in response to a petition which claimed that the recent petrol price hike was "illegal" as it lacked Parliament's approval and violated the Constitution, reports PTI.

A bench of Justices RY Ganoo and NM Jamdar ordered the respondents to file an affidavit explaining their stand on increasing the price of petrol.

Apart from the Central ministries, other respondents include oil marketing companies, Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd.

The PIL, filed by Rajendra Phanse, General Secretary of 'Dharmarajya Paksha', submitted that the petrol prices were hiked "abruptly" by Rs7.50 on 23rd May at the stroke of midnight after the conclusion of budget session of Parliament.

The petitioner contended that the raise in petrol prices was "totally illegal" as it does not have approval of the Parliament. It was also ultra-vires of the Constitution.

Terming as "undemocratic" the hike since it was announced after the Budget session was over, the petitioner argued that in the past, the decisions like raising the rates of postal and telephone services used to be taken during the budget session.

The petitioner further said that the hike was against the principles of natural justice, as it is bound to affect the entire population of the country.

Citing the lack of uniformity in the prices of petrol, the petitioner said that in Thane (Maharashtra), the price per litre is Rs81.70, while it is as low as Rs58.06 in Port Blair, Rs81.75 per litre in Bengaluru and Rs73.18 in Delhi.

This showed that the prices of petrol change from city to city within the country, which is nothing but a geographical discrimination in contravention of Article 14 of the Constitution, he said.

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TCS signs SAP solutions agreement with United Steel

TCS would implement SAP software and business warehousing solutions for its integrated steel mill in the Gulf region

Dubai: United Steel Company (SULB), the Gulf region's first fully integrated steel sections and beams producer, has announced that it has signed an agreement with IT major Tata Consuntancy Services (TCS) for the implementation of SAP software and business warehousing solutions for its integrated steel mill, reports PTI.

"We are pleased to be working with TCS, a global leader in software and business solutions, on the implementation of SAP solutions for SULB," said Mohammed Al-Jabr, CEO, SULB.

The amount of the deal was not revealed.

"Having recently appointed TCS, we have moved swiftly along, kicking off the project, which we expect to completed over the coming eight months," he added.

SULB and TCS held a meeting on 21st May to commence the project.

SAP will be implemented for Finance/Costing, Materials Management, Sales & Distribution, Production Planning, Quality Management, Plant Maintenance and HR/Payroll along with SAP's business intelligence tools, he said.

SULB is a joint venture between Bahrain-based Foulath, the region's leading steel investment vehicle and holding company (owning 51%), and Japan's Yamato Kogyo, a leading global sections and beams producer (owning 49%).

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Striking Air India pilots have no rights to be trained says High Court

As long as the Air India pilots are on strike, the Court says it is not inclined to hear the matter and these pilots cannot go on strike as well as get training simultaneously 

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said the striking pilots of Air India have no right to get training on advanced Boeing 777 to be used in international flights, reports PTI.

Refusing to hear an Air India appeal against the single judge's 11th May order which had stayed the training of more pilots till the implementation of Justice Dharmadhikari panel recommendations on the issue, a bench of Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said "let them call off the strike, we will then hear the matter." 

The high court, however, refused to disturb the ongoing training of the Air India pilots.

"So long as they (Air India pilots) are on strike, the court is not inclined to hear the matter. They cannot go on strike as well as get training simultaneously," the bench said pulling up the Air India management for seeking court's intervention for training to the pilots who are on strike.

The bench, while posting the matter for hearing in July, made it clear that if the pilots call off their strike, they can file an application for hearing the matter.

"As they are on strike, they have no right to get any training. If the strike is called off they can move an application for hearing of the matter," the court said.

The order came after Air India's counsel Lalit Bhasin submitted to the court that the single judge was wrong in staying the training being imparted to the Air India Pilots for Boeing 777.

He also submitted that staying the training will cause huge financial loss and the advance flight will be grounded.

According to Air India, 200 Commanders (chief pilots and 200 First Officer (co-pilots) need to undergo training for Boeing 777 but at present only 64 Commanders and 62 co-pilots are undergoing training.

To Bhasin's submissions, the court wanted to know whether the Air India Pilots are on strike and getting training at the same time. 

The Court's 11th May verdict had come on a plea by the erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots under the banner of Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) for an order to stay the ongoing training and also direct Air India to impart training to them as well along with their counterparts in Air India for the rank of Commanders for Boeing 777.

"I hereby make it clear that those pilots of Air India, who are already on training on advanced aircrafts, shall not be disturbed," Justice Suresh Kait had said, adding, however, "... those who have already taken the training on advance aircraft shall be subject to the outcome of the instant petition." 

"I am of the considered opinion that till the report submitted by Justice Dharmadhikari Committee is implemented, the imparting of training on advanced aircraft, in this manner, shall remain stayed," the single judge had said.

Considering ICPA's contention that if the new training system is implemented, co-pilots of Air India will be directly promoted to the post of commanders of the advanced aircraft, the court observed it will prejudice the rights of erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots who will remain as commanders of basic aircraft only, thus affecting their seniority.

ICPA had moved the high court alleging it has not been dealt "at a par" with Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), an association Air India pilots.

During the course of hearing, Air India counsel Lalit Bhasin had argued that the management had taken the decision to train only Air India pilots for advance aircrafts because of their different nature of job and different experience profiles.

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