US court to hear 1984 anti-Sikh riots case
New York: A US court is set to hear arguments in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case May 1 even as India’s Congress party opposed the entry of a default judgment against it for its alleged role in the riots.
Filing the Congress plea before Judge Robert W. Sweet of the US federal court, lawyers from “Jones Day” law firm said the case “involves significant issues of public international law that should not be decided by a default judgment.”
Since all events relating to November 1984 riots took place in India, all the individuals and property purportedly harmed by the Congress was located in India, said the plea filed in response to a petition filed by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a New York based community organisation.
Any witnesses or documents that the Congress may have relating to the alleged events too are located in India, it said.
Suggesting that local interest in the case was nil, the Congress opposition papers said “imposing jury duty on American citizens to hear this entirely-Indian dispute would be inappropriate.”
Contending that US Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case, the Congress party lawyer Thomas E. Lynch stated that the class action filed by SFJ and others is “against a foreign political party for alleged acts occurring entirely abroad more than twenty seven years ago.”
The Congress opposition was filed in response to the SFJ’s motion for entry of default judgment against Congress for its alleged failure to defend the charges of conspiring, aiding, abetting, organizing and carrying out attacks on Sikh population of India in November 1984.