'Indian court can hear suit of UK victim of Mumbai attacks'

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Mumbai attacks
London, Dec 3: An Indian expert legal witness today told the UK High Court that the compensation claim of a British man paralysed during the 2008 Mumbai attacks could be heard expeditiously by Indian courts.

Rohit Kapadia, a senior advocate of Bombay High Court, appeared in court on behalf of the owners of Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, who have been sued for compensation by Briton Will Pike. The Indian Hotels Company Limited's legal team - led by Paula Jefferson, a partner in the London-based law firm of Dac Beachcroft - is challenging Pike's assertion that his case should be heard by the High Court in London, where he lives, to ensure a speedy conclusion.

"I would expect a judge to pass an expedition order in a case of such importance," said Kapadia, giving evidence before Justice Stewart on the second day of a three-day hearing at Court 64 of the Royal Courts of Justice.

Asked by the court to give an estimate of timeframes in such cases that come before the Bombay High Court, he said: "They should be concluded within four years and if an application for expedition is approved, it would be much shorter than four years."

Pike's legal team have argued the case must be heard in London, where the Tata Group's hospitality arm has a significant presence, including The Crowne Plaza London –St James hotel near Buckingham Palace in central London.

"It is simply not right that this billion-dollar corporate giant wants to drag our wheelchair-bound client back to India and take him through a legal system where the ‘inequality of arms’ would be significant," said Russel Levy, a partner at Leigh Day, which is representing the 33-year-old freelance filmmaker.

The case over where the trial should be held is likely to conclude on Wednesday, with a reserved judgement expected at a later date. 

PTI

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