US Sikh group challenges Congress Party plea


 A US Sikh human rights group has challenged a motion filed by India’s Congress party for dismissing of a human rights violation case relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh violence.

In a 32-page memorandum of law filed with the US Federal Court here Monday Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ) argues that it has subject-matter jurisdiction as also legal standing to file the case on behalf of the victims of the 1984 violence after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The memorandum said the subject matter jurisdiction “is being invoked on the grounds of plaintiffs’ being granted refugee status in the US” and the Alien Torts Statute (ATS) grants jurisdiction to US Courts to hear the human rights violation cases committed outside the US.

The federal court in Manhattan is set to hear the arguments from SFJ and the Congress party on March 19 for and against continuation of the 1984 human rights violation case.

The Congress motion challenges both the court’s jurisdiction and the legal standing of SFJ to file the case, and asserts that the statute of limitations has expired.

In support of its motion, the Congress has submitted a declaration claiming that the party had not received the US court summons in accordance with the Hague Service Convention.

In support of the US jurisdiction in the case, SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, alleged that to mislead the US court, the Congress, which is a political organization, had repeatedly mischaracterised its structure as “corporate”.

Published in The Indian Sun (Indian magazine in Australia)

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