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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 16:34 GMT
Nepal court rejects Gurkha claim
The UK has employed Gurkhas for nearly 200 years
The supreme court in Nepal has thrown out a petition that it rule on whether the UK Government should give Gurkha troops it employs the same pay and conditions as British-born soldiers.

The petition was brought by a retired Gurkha, Gyan Raj Rai, who called the decision an "injustice," according to one report.

Some 3,000 Nepalese Gurkhas are serving in the British military and more than 25,000 receive pensions from Britain.

There are two legal cases underway in the UK at present involving Gurkhas seeking equal pay with British troops.

No powers

The Nepal supreme court decided in a decision late on Thursday that the dispute had to be settled between the governments of Nepal and the UK.

The court also ruled that it had no jurisdiction over the actions of the government of another country.

Gurkha parade
Gurkha troops are known for their distinctive uniform

Retired Sergeant-Major Rai brought his petition with the backing of the Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen Organisation.

"Injustice has been done to the ex-Gurkhas because the country's supreme court quashed the writ even without probing the issue properly," he was quoted as saying.

In the UK, former Gurkha Lance Corporal Hari Thapa is claiming racial discrimination by the Ministry of Defence over his pension.

He says he receives only 58 ($83) compared to the 450 ($641) a British veteran receives.

It is estimated that if he wins his case, the British Government would face a bill of around two billion pounds.

Britain first realised the fighting worth of the Gurkhas after it suffered heavy casualties in the invasion of Nepal in the 19th century.

The British East India Company signed a peace deal in 1815, which also allowed it to recruit from the ranks of the former enemy.

See also:

17 Jan 02 | England
Race-claim Gurkha awaits judgment
16 Jan 02 | England
Army denies racism claim
05 Sep 01 | South Asia
Gurkhas sue over pension payments
14 Jan 02 | England
Gurkha claims MoD was racist
28 Oct 99 | Europe
Benefit boost for Gurkha widows
11 Mar 01 | South Asia
Gurkhas demand better pensions
19 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Gurkha compensation ban angers MP
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