Maid case: India awaits final verdict

February 24th, 2012 - 11:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/New York, Feb 24 (IANS) India said Friday it will await the final verdict on the recommendation of a US judge that an Indian housemaid be paid nearly $1.5 million for the “barbaric treatment” she received at the hands of an Indian diplomat and her husband here.

Government sources in New Delhi said that it was “premature” to comment on the issue and pointed out that the compensation was recommendatory in nature. The sources added that it will await the final verdict in the case before commenting on it.

“It is only a recommendation to the judge. We will have to wait till the legal process is over,” the sources said. “The final judgement is awaited,” they said.

A New York judge has proposed $500,000 for the “emotional distress” inflicted on Shanti Gurung by Neena Malhotra, who then served as the press counsellor at the Indian consulate here, and her husband, Jogesh Malhotra, according to the New York Post.

The Malhotras clearly induced their ex-maid to “work without pay by seizing her passport and visa, restricting her ability to leave their apartment, and constantly warning her that if she travelled on her own without their permission, she would be arrested, beaten, raped and sent back to India as ‘cargo,’ ” Manhattan federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas wrote.

His recommendations are subject to approval by Judge Victor Marrero, who is overseeing the case, the Post said.

In December 2010, Marrero granted Gurung a default judgment against the Malhotras, who returned to India before they could be served with their ex-maid’s shocking suit.

In her lawsuit Gurung alleged that in bringing her over to the US in 2006 on an A-3 visa, Malhotra instructed Gurung to tell the US embassy in New Delhi that she would be paid $7 per hour. She also “asked Gurung to lie about her birth date, so that she would appear to US officials be 18, not her actual age of 17″, according to the filing.

With a steady deterioration in her living conditions from June 2006 onwards, Gurung was required to “perform substantially more duties than had been represented at the time of recruitment.”

This included cooking and cleaning, daily massages for Malhotra, grocery shopping and laundry, and waiting upon guests for dinner parties that the Malhotras regularly held, which often went on until 3 a.m., the lawsuit alleged.

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