Tuesday, April 29, 2014

US court dismisses rights violation case against Congress party

 A US court has dismissed the human rights violation case against Congress party filed by rights group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) for failure to show sufficient "touch and concern" to the United States as required by the law.

The case was filed under Alien Torts Stature and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) for genocide, rape, torture, summary executions and extra judicial killings; and for aiding and abetting the commission and conspiracy to commit those violations during November 1984 Sikh massacre and then protecting the perpetrators.

Federal Judge Robert W, Sweet while granting Congress' motion to dismiss the 1984-lawsuit filed by Sikhs for Justice, held that SFJ could not be a plaintiff and individual plaintiffs were not ""legal representatives. "Furthermore, no further amendment is permitted and case is dismissed,"" the judge held.

Congress counsel Ravi Batra, who is also representing Congress President Sonia Gandhi in a separate rights violation case and which is still pending in a US court, said that the United States Supreme Court established the precedent that events occurring entirely on foreign soil by and between foreigners, without touching or concerning the United States, will not be heard in US courts.

The judge held that the case against Indian National Congress was dismissed, and SFJ and other named plaintiffs lacked legal standing to file such a case. SFJ as an American corporation is not an alien, and ATS only permits aliens to sue. Other individual plaintiffs are also not permitted to sue as they are not recognized by NY law or by Indian Law to be "legal representatives."

The Judge also noted "Plaintiffs' combined facts, even if credited, are insufficient to establish that the conduct sufficiently "touched and concerned" the United States to establish jurisdiction under the ATS and dismissal is appropriate under 12(b)( 1)".

Meanwhile, SFJ has announced to challenge the dismissal of 1984 rights violation case against Indian National Congress party before the US Court of Appeals on the grounds that this case sufficiently "touches and concerns" the United States and SFJ has "institutional standing" to seek "declaratory judgment" on November 1984 violence against the Sikh community.

"Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, an appeal has to be filed with the US Circuit Court within 30 days from the date of District Court's order. Sikh right group's appeal against the order of Judge Sweet dismissing the 1984 rights violation case is due by May 23," said SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Terming the court decision as beginning of the long legal uphill road for the victims to hold the "powerful and untouchables" accountable for their crimes against the Sikh community, Pannun stated that the rights group would give documentation, evidence and testimony before court of appeals that India's Congress party commanded, controlled and directed the functioning of New York based entity INOC (Indian National Overseas Congress), thus, satisfying requirement of "touch and concern" as required by US law.

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