HC dismisses suit against Queen of Netherlands

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Mumbai, Feb 7 (PTI) In a reprieve to the Queen ofNetherlands, the Bombay High Court recently dismissed a17-year-old suit filed against her and the Indian governmentseeking damages for the ship capsized on November 28, 1989.

S K Dhondy, proprietor of S K Dhondy and Company, filedthe suit after his ship, MV SKD-1 capsized, seeking damagesfrom the Queen of Netherlands and Indian Government.

According to the suit, Dhondy had handed the vessel toDredging Corporation of India for a month when it developed adefect and repairs had to be carried out. Van Heerde, aresident of Netherlands, was engaged to repair the vessel.

Dhondy claimed that Heerde was appointed under abilateral trade agreement between India and Netherlands toattend to repairs of the vessel.

"The repairs were not carried out properly thus resultingin the ship''s capsize. As Heerde was a citizen of Netherlands,that country''s Queen is answerable in terms of damages," thesuit claimed.

Justice R Y Ganoo however on January 20 dismissed thesuit on the grounds that the Queen of Netherlands enjoys"diplomatic immunity".

The court accepted the Queen''s Counsel, Neeta Rajda''s,argument that Dhondy had not taken sanction from the UnionGovernment, as required under the Civil Procedure Code (CVC).

"Besides diplomatic immunity, the suit was filed aftermuch delay by the plaintiff (Dhondy)," the court remarked.

Though the suit was filed in 1994, it did not come upfor hearing for long.

In 2004, the Queen through her counsel filed anapplication in the High Court seeking the suit''s dismissal.

"The suit is an abuse of the process of this court and hasattempted to implicate a sovereign on frivolous grounds," herapplication stated. .

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