March 16, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Ludhiana, Punjab (March 16, 2012): As per inforamtion available with “Sikh Siyasat” a US federal court has granted Congress an extension of 2 weeks to respond to the motion for “default judgment” in a law suit filed by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) for its (Congress’) failure to defend the charges of conspiring, aiding, abetting, organizing and carrying out genocidal attacks on Sikh population of India in November 1984.
Judge Robert W Sweet of the US federal court was scheduled to hear the plaintiff’s motion for entry of “Default Judgment” on March 15 but on March 13 attorney Thomas E Lynch, on behalf of the Congress, wrote a letter to Judge Sweet requesting an adjournment of the hearing on plaintiff’s motion for a judgment by default so as to allow him time to review the relevant facts and to prepare a response to the plaintiff’s motion.
“Jones Day”, a law firm with expertise in defending organizations accused of human rights violations has been retained by Congress to defend it against the pending charges of genocidal attacks on the Sikhs in November 1984.
SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun told that on March 2011, when US federal court issued summons against Congress, it retained “Wiggin and Dana LLP” a New York based law firm, which also asked for an extension to respond to Summons but later the law firm withdrew its representation of Congress (I) stating that they were not hired by authorized officials of Congress.
The US federal court will now hear plaintiff’s motion for a judgment by default against Congress on March 29, Pannun told TOI. The plaintiff’s are demanding that a judgment by default be entered against the defendant Congress and that an evidentiary hearing be scheduled in order to determine the amount of compensatory and punitive damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs.
A class action suit was filed against Congress and union minister Kamal Nath by “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ) a US based human rights group along with several Sikh individuals who survived attacks on November 1984 under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA). The complaint, which was amended on March 2011, sought damages over the genocidal attacks against Sikhs that were carried out throughout India in November 1984 after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
However, on March 7 Judge Sweet ruled that plaintiffs must refile claims against Nath. According to the decision of the Judge SFJ failed to properly serve the politician, Kamal Nath, when it filed suit on April 2010. While SFJ had claimed that summons were served on Nath when he was outside the Indian Consulate in US on April 6, 2010 but Nath had countered that he was not served and that no one witnessed him being approached or handed over anything.
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Related Topics: 1984 Sikh Genocide, Indian National Congress, Kamal Nath, November 1984, Sikh Diaspora, Sikhs for Justice