Maid 'torture': India to defend diplomat in US
The government will officially defend its diplomat Neena Malhotra in a New York court against a magistrate's inquiry that recommended she pay a compensation of $1.5 million (around Rs 7.4 crore) to her former maid Shanti Gurung.
External affairs minister SM Krishna has asked law minister Salman Khurshid to depute a top law officer to advise his ministry on how to defend Malhotra, a senior IFS officer, and husband Jogesh before a district court of southern New York.
Magistrate Frank Maas had on February 23 held Malhotra guilty of "barbaric treatment" towards Gurung between 2006 and 2009 and recommended the compensation.
The government decided to back Malhotra, citing diplomatic immunity available to her as per the Hague Convention on Service Conditions.
"The proceedings in the US court so far appear to be an infringement of the immunity provided to a career diplomat," said a top government official, who did not want to be named.
In a letter on Thursday, Krishna wrote: "On the advice of then solicitor general, the ministry had intervened as amicus in the case and pointed out that summons can't be issued to the officer, but the argument did not succeed."
Krishna pointed out that the court is expected to take a final decision by March 10 on the magistrate's inquest report.