The Australian media reported that Sherghill told the Federal Court that she had to work 17 and half hours daily for seven days a week…reports Asian Lite News
India on Thursday strongly rejected an Australian court’s ruling ordering former Indian high commissioner to Canberra Navdeep Singh Suri to pay a former domestic employee thousands of dollars in compensation after she accused him of unfair working conditions and exploitation.
Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said the Australian authorities do not have any locus standi to adjudicate on matters concerning India-based service staff of its high commission and called on Canberra to uphold its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Justice Elizabeth Raper of the federal court had ordered Mr Suri to pay Seema Sherghill more than 136,000 dollars plus interest, within 60 days after she alleged that she was forced to work in unfair conditions, Australian media reported on Sunday.
In his weekly media briefing, Bagchi said the service staff “wilfully deserted” her post in May 2016, a day before her scheduled return to India and that she was holding an official passport and Australian diplomatic visa.
He said New Delhi has repeatedly requested Australian authorities to locate and repatriate the staff member to India. Sherghill took Australian citizenship in 2021.
“Her conduct and false representations give rise to suspicions that all this has been motivated by her desire to permanently stay in Australia, and in which she seems to have succeeded,” Mr Bagchi said, replying to a question on the case.
The MEA spokesperson said India is also concerned by the ex-parte court judgement.
“Let me reiterate that we reject any locus standi of Australian authorities to adjudicate on matters concerning such India-based service staff of the High Commission. Any grievance that she may have has to be suitably redressed only in India,” he said.
“We are also concerned by the ex-parte court judgement. We are taking up the matter with Australian authorities. We would urge Australia to uphold its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, particularly in relation to diplomatic immunities and privileges,” he said.
The Australian media reported that Sherghill told the Federal Court that she had to work 17 and half hours daily for seven days a week.
Bagchi said the service staff “willfully deserted her post in May 2016, a day before her scheduled return to India. “Since then, we have repeatedly requested Australian authorities to locate and repatriate her to India,” he said.