New Delhi: Noting that diplomats enjoy
immunity abroad and foreign courts have no jurisdiction over
them, the Centre today moved the Delhi High Court seeking an
order restraining an Indian maid from pursuing in the US a
case against her former employers, an Indian diplomat and her
husband, for allegedly abusing her.
Filing a civil suit before Justice Kailash Gambhir, the
Ministry of External Affairs contended that the case
initiated by the maid, Shanti Gurung, with the help of a
voluntary organisation against Neena and Yogesh Malhotra, is
abuse of process of law as the allegations are baseless and
Last week, a US judge had recommended that Neena and
Yogesh should pay nearly USD 1.5 million to Gurung as damages
on her complaint of "slavery" and "barbaric treatment" while
she was employed as their domestic worker.
Justice Gambhir said he would hear the matter tomorrow.
In its petition, the government said that the legal
action against Malhotras is in violation of Foreign Sovereign
Immunity Act of USA and also the Vienna and the Hague
"They enjoyed diplomatic immunity and they are under the
territorial jurisdiction of this court and any legal action
against them can be done only in Delhi," the government said
seeking a direction to Gurung to withdraw her case against
The legal proceeding is pending before a US judge to fix
adequate damage for the maid on her complaint.
In its petition, Government said, "The US court lacks
jurisdiction to entertain the complaint against the Indian
diplomat and try any proceedings against them.
"Any order to be passed by the US district court would be
contrary to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act and also an
interference with the judicial sovereignty of India."