25 June 2019: A well-regarded Indian community leader has blamed the Consulate General of India in Sydney and High Commissioner of India in Australia for hurting the image of the world’s largest democracy by first underpaying one of its staff and then by ignoring court orders to pay up its debt to the wronged employee.
The Consulate is accused of repeatedly ignoring court orders directing it to pay Hitender Kumar, its former driver, in unpaid overtime and employee bonus.
Dr Yadu Singh, whose straightforwardness unsettles the “crooked” in the community, says the Consulate General must show respect for and obey orders of the Australian court system and must pay the money ordered by the honourable court.
“Judiciary is respected and obeyed by everyone including top political leaders and top bureaucrats in India. It’s inappropriate for India’s representatives in Australia to ignore Australian court’s decisions,” Dr Singh reminded Indian diplomats in Australia.
Dr Singh had earlier attempted to mediate between the Indian national and the Consulate General in order to find an amicable solution to the imbroglio but without success, it is understood.
“At the request of High Commissioner, Mr Ajay Gondane, I contacted Mr Hitender Kumar to understand the issues. I met the Consul General of that time. I conveyed my suggestions for the resolution to the parties including Mr Gondane. While Mr Hitender Kumar was reasonable and willing to resolve the issues, it was the Consulate and Mr Gondane, who were not reasonable or serious in resolving the matter. I did not find them sharing my concerns regarding damage to the name and image of India, if the matter went to the court and media,” the community leader further added shedding light on how he sought to resolve the issue early on.
Now the Sydney-based cardiologist, who undoubtedly is one of the most trusted names in the Indian diaspora in Australia, wants the High commissioner of India to act and get the debt paid to the former employee of the Government of India as directed by the Federal Circuit Court.
Dr Singh regards the Garnishee order by an Australian Court against the Indian Consulate “a disgrace and insult to India” saying the matter should not have been allowed to reach this stage.
“I love India, but this love doesn’t include loving misbehaviour by Indian bureaucrats. I love my community and I will always stand against injustice to members of my community,” Dr Singh clarified his position on the issue, “It’s about time that the External Affairs Minister of India orders an audit and investigation about how this matter has been mismanaged and how much money has been spent on legal fees and why.”
In a Facebook comment, the former driver of the Indian consulate explains that “this issue” started with the non-payment of a bonus amounting to $3,450 back in 2014. He further explains that “the CGI Sydney had spent thousands of dollars as legal fees and other expanses first to defend and latter on concede the same in a federal Court at Australia.” (sic).
By the time a garnishee order was issued by the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on April 18 this year, CGI Sydney’s debt to Mr Kumar had ballooned to $17,847.80. The amount includes multiple headings other than the original row of mere non-payment of the employee bonus.
Commenting on a Facebook post, Mr Kumar praised Dr Singh’s fair dinkum approach to the issue in that, according to the former CGI employee, “none of the Indian Community leaders” commented on the “unreasonable conduct of CGI Sydney” – apart from Dr Yadu Singh.
Dr Singh “had tried his best to save the present embarrassment to the Government of India and had also taken this issue several times with CGI Sydney,” he said in his comment on the post.