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US court dismisses 1984 case against Sonia Gandhi


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New York, June 11 (IANS) A US federal court in Brooklyn has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Sikh rights organisation accusing Congress party president Sonia Gandhi of shielding party leaders allegedly involved in violence against Sikhs in November 1984.

US district judge Brian M. Cogan on Monday granted Gandhi’s motion to dismiss the case filed by New York based Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.

But he denied Gandhi’s motion for “anti suit injunction” seeking to prevent SFJ from filing any further law suits.

“Plaintiffs’ claims under the ATS (Alien Tort Statute) must be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because they are plainly barred under the Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co,” the judge ruled.

The Alien Tort Statute (ATS) is a US federal law first adopted in 1789 that gives the federal courts jurisdiction to hear lawsuits filed by non-US citizens for torts committed in violation of international law.

Since the court has dismissed Sonia Gandhi’s plea to bar SFJ from filing further law suits, SFJ will continue to hold Congress leaders accountable before US Courts, SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh said.

Earlier, Gandhi had refused to provide copy of her passport to the US Court and conceded to the court’s personal jurisdiction resulting in accomplishment of proper service of summons in the case.

The class action suit against Sonia Gandhi was filed by SFJ and victims of 1984 under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA).

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