Gurkha fighters launch legal battle to win equal pension rights

October 28th, 2009 - 5:01 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Oct. 28 (ANI): Retired Gurkha soldiers have launched a legal battle in the London High Court to win the same pension rights as British soldiers.

The legendary Nepalese force, which has defended Britain for nearly 200 years, now wants the High Court to overturn what they described as “continued discrimination”.

“This case is about our dignity. We are not being greedy, we are simply asking for equal treatment,” The Daily Express quoted Major Tikendra Dewan, who retired in July 2002 after 31 years of service, as saying.

Earlier this year, a huge public campaign, led by actress Joanna Lumley, succeeded in overturning the Government’s ban on allowing Gurkhas who retired before 1997 to settle in the UK.

And now, the British Gurkha Welfare Society has challenged the British Ministry of Defence’s pension arrangements, which they claim breach age and race discrimination laws.

“The Gurkhas bring this case because they believe they have been unfairly treated by the MoD,” Lawyer Declan O’Dempsey said.

Under the regulations, around 24,000 Gurkhas, who retired before July 1 1997, are not entitled to be transferred to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

Another 7,000 Gurkhas with less than 15 years’ service receive no payments at all.

On Monday, lawyers for the Gurkhas began a two-day application for a judicial review of the policy. (ANI)

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