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MOD stiff Ghurkas


Seven former Gurkhas who took the UK Government to court, claiming they suffered "inferior" pay, conditions and treatment to that of British colleagues have lost their claim.
In the test cases, the Nepalese fighters claimed their human rights had been breached by the "irrational and discriminatory" attitude of the Ministry of Defence.

The Gurkhas were represented at the two-day High Court hearing by the prime minister's wife Cherie Booth QC.

But the MoD argued there had been no breach of human rights laws, and that too much time had elapsed between the time the men were serving and the case being brought.

During the case, Ms Booth told Mr Justice Sullivan there had been "systematic and institutionalised less favourable treatment of Gurkha soldiers... on the grounds of their race and nationality".

'Brave fighters'

"On the one hand Gurkhas are acknowledged to be brave fighters who have provided loyal service to the Crown for nearly 200 years... and even today serve in Kuwait," she said.

"But on the other hand, they are treated as different and inferior in relation to other parts of the British Army on terms and conditions of service."

The seven all retired in the past couple of years from the Brigade of Gurkhas, to which all the Gurkhas in the British Army are recruited.

They had been trying to claim £2m in compensation and had their claim succeeded it could have opened the floodgates to some 30,000 other former soldiers.

Nice one Hoon!
Can someone give one good reason why these men are not treated as equals?


PTP - I can't see anyone can give you an answer to that question on this board
I don't know the exact details, but I think you'll find that the Gurkhas join the British and Indian Armies as mercenaries (of sorts) and are given a different contract on the grounds that they are not British citizens or from the commonwealth and if they weren't, wouldn't really be allowed to join. Something to do with history, and an agreement with the Nepal Govt that allows us and the Indians to poach their best young men.

Not saying it's right, but you can't start shouting about your contract AFTER you've signed it and AFTER you've left the job.
What a disgrace.  I appreciate that I am getting a tad sentimental here, but if they are good enough to bleed for this country they should be good enough to get the same financial package as the rest of us.

As far as being 'mercenaries' is concerned, are we allowed to recruit anyone on such grounds?  Would 'mercenaries' be allowed to form into Regimantal formations, have officers bearing the Queens Commision and indeed have a member of the Royal family as it's Colnel in Chief? that British?  No it's not.  The MOD have just f*cked over another bunch of squaddies!

We are currently about to spend a fortune on a bunch of economic refugees, seeing as the Government has lost it's arguement in the CoA.

If the Gurkhas had been represented by the same ambulance chasing bunch of shysters who represented the 'economic refugees', they'd probably have stood a better chance.  Now, they should pursue a case through the ECoHR.  

I would have no objection whatsoever in a tax increase in order to pay an equal pension to men who have loyally served this country.  Currently a portion of our taxes taxes go towards paying the 'legal aid' fees for every dodgy bastard lawyer with an eye for a killing, so I'd rather see my taxes spent elsewhere and on a more deserving case..............the Gurkhas!

Nevertheless, these lads will continue to join us and long may they do so.


War Hero
well the Gurkhas have lost the pensions argument.

the high court has said that the pensions are equivilent not equal but in Nepal the gurkhas  Pension is at the level of a professionals pay eg a doctor lawyer. (Is an army pension at that level here?)
I would estimate that very few of those Gurkhas that have joined over the years did so, purely for financial motives.  May well have been a factor for many, but not the be all and end all.  Why should they not be entitled to pursue their grievance now they have left?  Yes, they knew the condidtions when they joined, but how many were aware of the comparison between themselves and their British colleagues they serve alongside, prior to them signing up?  They shouldn't have to take the bloody thing through the courts.  Not often I find myself in agreement with Ma, but if they're good enough to bleed for this country, they're good enough to be paid the same as anyone else for such a dubious priviliege


The fact they knew the conditions when they joined etc, does not stand up, in my view,  things like pregnant servicewomen getting big payouts after they had to leave, sueing the MOD is just one point, i will not boar you with the others as most know about them.
Pregnant mothers, gay soldiers etc. Right? They signed the contracts, the courts went in their favour...... but was it right?
sorry got wrong jist of this, thought it was some thing to do with Paul Weller nailing Mr Gurung


War Hero
OK.. let me put another point of view.

Nepal has a very low standard of living and a few pence goes a long way. Gurkhas are paid in the UK, allowances including a slightly less wage than their British counterpart, but their pensions on leaving are considerably less.

This is because if they had UK comparable pensions then this would ruin the local economy with ex Gurkha's earning almost millionaire status pensions compared to their civilian counterparts. Gurkhas earn very similar pensions to us when compared against their civilian counterparts in Nepal.

Ah - you might say, this is a cop out to ensure they are paid less. You may well be right but nevertheless, Nepal do not want millionnaire service pensioners ruining local village economies.


PartTimePongo said:
Can someone give one good reason why these men are not treated as equals?

During the Indian partition, India took a percentage of the Ghurkhas and the British Army took the rest. To ensure that all Ghurkhas were treated the same whether they were serving with the British or Indian Army; an agreement was made that each Ghurkha Army would be paid the same base rate. What most people forget is, yes Ghurkha pay is bad compared to ours but this is due to the Ghurkha pay agreement mentioned above. However Ghurkhas get very good rates of pay whilst serving in the UK (a form of LOA). It should also be noted, that the average monthly wage in Nepal, is probably less than £20.00 a month. If Ghurkhas were to go back to Nepal with £900.00 a month pensions, it would totally destabilise the Nepalese economy.


Freellance is absolutely correct when he says that the Gurkha Pay scale is dependant upon the Indian/British agreement post WW2. In addition, the King of Nepal has also made it clear that wages and pensions are to be set at a level that would not destabilise his country.

I understood that a lot of the recent challenges to Gurkha pensions have been politically motivated by the Marxist insurgents currently causing problems in Nepal and that much of the Ex soldiers Pensions have been diverted into their coffers.

Typical of that flip top headed Cherie to jump on the band wagon and make some cash out of challenging the Govt. You would think she could have just asked hubbie to sort it if it was so unfair.
I think Freelance has summarised the background as to why this is the case and agree there may be dangers of millionaire Gurkhas destabilising Nepal. However, there are several aspects of their pay and conditions that do not translate fairly into the current situation.

Historically the 'majority' of Gurkhas served in outposts such as HK and Brunei. In addition to lower rates of pay and a different promotion structure, Gurkhas (below SSgt) were also restricted from having their families with them except for a 3 (?) year period of family permission. For the remainder of their service (or until promoted) they are forced to be unaccompanied.

Now we have lost HK and more of the guys have returned to the UK, concessions have been made and family permissions extended. This has caused new issues Gurkhas are becoming more anglicised and there are more discipline problems as the guys are now going down town to sh** Tracy who wants British rights (rather than the Philippinoes in HK who were also married unaccompanied)

It is probably justifiable (ish) that Gurkhas retiring to Nepal don't need as much money as Johnny England. However, many more Gurkhas are now retiring to the UK and potentially are (much) less well off than an ' Asylum Seeker' who has never lifted a finger to help the UK.

I am aware of a QGE SNCO who was killed in Bosnia a few years back with a Brit Officer, the Brit's NOK got full pensions etc while the QGE's NOK got a few thousand pounds and had to relocate back to Nepal. I believe the Welfare Trust managed to raise some money for the family but don't believe the Government did much (although I could be mistaken)

Apologies for a rambling post - I guess my main thrust is that while historically there may be reasons why things are as is, time's have changed. We have changed the terms and conditions of service but appear to be very lax in making similar adjustments to the rates of pay and benefits. I am sure some Gurkhas do have their warts but I think by and large they pay their way and bring a great deal to the table which should be repaid.
In about 1948/9, after the UK/India/Nepal agreement, the chiefs of staff decided that with the Indian Army gone, they still needed a reserve force out east for all the other bits of empire hanging around. It was considered too expensive to make that up with more Brits, so they hit on the idea of forming an entire Gurkha Div. based in Malaya and Singapore, over and above the Gurkhas on HK and in Brunei. As it happened, far from being a source of reserves for the rest of the theatre, Malaya ended up by sucking in the whole Gurkhadiv, much of the British force on Singapore, and tens of thousands more from UK, Aussie and NZ. Bugger. But that's roughly how we came still to have Gurkhas. It also allowed Denis Healey to cover up the fact that in the mid-60s there were *more* British troops East of Suez than in BAOR, about which the West Germans were not happy (he counted only the UK-recruited units and therefore got the figures down by 12,000)


Funny how the MoD classed the Ghurkas as Indian Army, but still issued them with Imperial Medals, i.e. The medal had latin runnning round the medal, unlike the Indian Army who got Hindi running around it.

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