Mumbai: In a reprieve to the Queen of
Netherlands, the Bombay High Court recently dismissed a
17-year-old suit filed against her and the Indian government
seeking damages for the ship capsized on November 28, 1989.
S K Dhondy, proprietor of S K Dhondy and Company, filed
the suit after his ship, MV SKD-1 capsized, seeking damages
from the Queen of Netherlands and Indian Government.
According to the suit, Dhondy had handed the vessel to
Dredging Corporation of India for a month when it developed a
defect and repairs had to be carried out. Van Heerde, a
resident of Netherlands, was engaged to repair the vessel.
Dhondy claimed that Heerde was appointed under a
bilateral trade agreement between India and Netherlands to
attend to repairs of the vessel.
"The repairs were not carried out properly thus resulting
in the ship`s capsize. As Heerde was a citizen of Netherlands,
that country`s Queen is answerable in terms of damages," the
Justice R Y Ganoo however on January 20 dismissed the
suit on the grounds that the Queen of Netherlands enjoys
The court accepted the Queen`s Counsel, Neeta Rajda`s,
argument that Dhondy had not taken sanction from the Union
Government, as required under the Civil Procedure Code (CVC).
"Besides diplomatic immunity, the suit was filed after
much delay by the plaintiff (Dhondy)," the court remarked.
Though the suit was filed in 1994, it did not come up
for hearing for long.
In 2004, the Queen through her counsel filed an
application in the High Court seeking the suit`s dismissal.
"The suit is an abuse of the process of this court and has
attempted to implicate a sovereign on frivolous grounds," her