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US court dismisses human rights violation case against congress president Soina Gandhi on technical ground

June 11, 2014 | By

The Torture Victim Protection (TVPA) has a 10-year statute of limitations: US court

Moga, Punjab (June 11, 2014): Holding that the Torture Victim Protection (TVPA) has a 10-year statute of limitations to hear a case against non-US petitioner’s plea in rights violation cases, a US court has dismissed a human rights violation case against Congress president Sonia Gandhi for lack of jurisdiction. Eastern district court in New York referred to an earlier decision of Supreme Court, which barred this court from entertaining case of having elder period than 10 years.

Sonia Gandhi [File Photo]

Sonia Gandhi [File Photo]

The case filed by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) is related to the 1984 massacre of Sikhs after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Judge Brian M Cogan of Eastern district court in New York in his 13-page order on June 3 accepted the plea by Sonia Gandhi’s counsel seeking dismissal of the case but declined to pass an anti-suit injunction, IP Singh, senior TOI scribe reported.

The suit was filed in September last year when Sonia had reportedly visited US for a health check up under the US federal court jurisdiction based on alien tort statute (ATS), which allows foreign citizens to seek remedies in US courts for human rights violations for conduct committed outside US.

The court said the claims under the ATS must be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because they are plainly barred under the Supreme Court’s decision in another case. “The Torture Victim Protection (TVPA) has a 10-year statute of limitations. The anti-Sikh riots occurred almost 30 years before plaintiffs filed this lawsuit, and thus the statute of limitations poses an obvious hurdle for plaintiffs,” the judge held.

“Nor does the amended complaint adequately allege that defendant is liable for the extrajudicial killings and torture that occurred during the anti-Sikh riots. The naked allegations of conspiracy in the amended complaint are insufficient to state a claim,” the judge said.

On Sonia’s counsel’s plea seeking anti-suit injunction, the court said, “the amended complaint in this action was certainly flawed. But the court cannot say that plaintiffs filed it in bad faith, or that they have engaged in a pattern of vexatious litigation that warrants the extraordinary remedy of an anti-suit injunction.”

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