Gurkhas to plead case at the High Court

Gurkha
soldiers from Nepal have won the right to take a case alleging racial
discrimination against the British Government to the High Court.

The
Gurkhas allege discrimination in at least 20 different ways, including pay,
pension, religion, dress code and living conditions while serving with the
British Army.

In
May, lawyers for the soldiers filed a claim for damages at the High Court. It
is estimated that if they are successful, it could cost the Ministry of Defence
up to £2bn.

Phil
Shiner, a solicitor with the Public Interest Lawyers group which is acting for
the Gurkhas, told Personnel Today a decision from the High Court could be made
before Christmas.

The
Gurkhas are to present 20 test cases, and claim that 30,000 Nepalese retired
from service without the pensions they should have received, and that widows
were not properly compensated for their loss.

The
case is to be argued by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie Booth.

Nepalese
soldiers have fought with British Army soldiers for almost two centuries,
serving in recent years in the Falklands, the Gulf, Kosovo, Bosnia, Sierra
Leone and Afghanistan.

Since
an agreement between India, Nepal and the UK in 1947, Gurkhas pay scales have
been linked to the Indian Army, something they say is wrong.

By
Quentin Reade

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