Home »  News »  India

US court dismisses lawsuit against Congress in 1984 riots case

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - 10:36am IST | Place: NEW YORK | Agency: PTI
  • anti-sikh-riots Representational Image

An American court has dismissed a human rights violation lawsuit against Congress party filed by a Sikh group in the anti-Sikh riots case, saying the group has no legal standing to file such a suit and events that do not "touch and concern" the US will not be heard in a US court.

Judge Robert Sweet granted a motion by the Congress party to dismiss the 1984-lawsuit filed by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), ruling that the rights group cannot be a plaintiff and individual plaintiffs are not "legal representatives". "No further amendment is permitted and case is dismissed," Sweet said in his order on Monday, ruling that SFJ failed to show sufficient "touch and concern" to the US. SFJ said it would challenge the order in an appeals court on the grounds that the case sufficiently "touches and concerns" the US and SFJ has "institutional standing" to seek "declaratory judgment" for the 1984 violence against Sikhs. It has time till May 23 to file its appeal.

Congress party's attorney Ravi Batra said the judge has ruled that SFJ and other named plaintiffs in the case lack legal standing to file such a case. The court dismissed the case also for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and barred SFJ from filing any additional amendment of the complaint, as it would be futile. Batra said the rule of law has reigned supreme with the dismissal of the case. The US Supreme Court established the precedent that events occurring entirely on foreign soil by and between foreigners, without touching or concerning the US, would not be heard in US courts, Batra told PTI. The judge has "put SFJ out of business of filing meritless lawsuits that only seek publicity and have no chance of getting merit-based justice, he said, adding SFJ's polygamous lawsuits cannot win in court given its faulty recipe.

Batra said in legal terms, SFJ is an American corporation and not an alien and US federal law Alien Torts Statute only permits aliens to sue. Other individual plaintiffs are also not permitted to file a lawsuit as they are not recognised by New York law or by Indian Law to be "legal representatives." "Federal Judge Robert W. Sweet's Order and Judgment dismissing SFJ's case against INC must be music to every law abiding citizen in the world who value's their own nation's sovereignty," he said, adding Sweet acknowledged in a footnote in his ruling, "contrary to SFJ's false assertions, that India has acted to address the hurt caused by the 1984 events."

SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said that SFJ would provide documentary evidence and testimony before the appeals court that the Congress party allegedly "commands, controls and directs" the functioning of New York based entity INOC (Indian National Overseas Congress), satisfying the requirement of "touch and concern". The group would also challenge the ruling that it lacks legal standing on the grounds that federal law grants "institutional standing" to human rights groups to seek "declaratory judgments" by the US Courts.




Jump to comments