US court to hear 1984 Sikh Genocide case on May 1

New York, US: Representing Congress (INC) in Sikh Genocide Case, lawyers from “Jones Day”, an international law firm specializing in defending claims arising from human rights violations, has opposed the entry of default judgment against Congress (I). The opposition filed in the court states that the 1984 Sikh Genocide case “involves significant issues of public international law that should not be decided by a default judgment.”

Since all events relating to November 1984 Sikh Genocide took place in India, “all the individuals and property purportedly harmed by the INC was located in India. Any witnesses or documents that the INC may have relating to the alleged events are located in India. The cost, effort, and time required to conduct discovery—nevertheless trial—of this dispute would be significant. Moreover, the administrative difficulties this Court would face in hearing these claims would be burdensome, local interest in this action is nil, and imposing jury duty on American citizens to hear this entirely-Indian dispute would be inappropriate”, states the Congress (I)’s opposition papers filed in the US court.

The class action filed by the Plaintiffs “Sikhs for Justice” (SFJ) and others is “against a foreign political party for alleged acts occurring entirely abroad more than twenty seven years ago”, states the Congress (I)’s lawyer Thomas E. Lynch. “The magnitude of the issues at stake, the public international and foreign nature of the lawsuit, the fatal deficiencies in plaintiffs’ claims, and the longstanding principle that cases should be resolved on the merits all preclude entry of a default judgment against the INC”, the opposition further states.

“Jones Day’s” opposition on behalf of Congress (I) is in response to the SFJ’s motion for entry of default judgment against Congress (I) for its failure to defend the charges of conspiring, aiding, abetting, organizing and carrying out attacks on Sikh population of India in November 1984, Congress (I) has filed opposition to the plaintiff’s motion contending that US Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case against Congress (I).

Judge Robert W. Sweet of the US federal court who is presiding the 1984 Sikh Genocide case has now set the case for arguments on May 01, 2012.

According to attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ, the Congress’s defense that Sikh Genocide case should be tried in India is preposterous because Congress (I) remained in power during majority of the time since November 1984 and has successfully shielded the killers of Sikhs in India. This claim by the Congress (I) comes at a time when CBI in Sajjan Kumar’s trial has directly implicated police and administration of deliberate failure to investigate and prosecute those who organized and perpetrated the killing of Sikhs. By taking the defense of “burden on American Tax Payers”, Congress (I) is misleading the US Court into believing that 1984 victims can get justice in India. The real motive is to shield Congress leaders involved in November 1984 killings even in the international courts, added attorney Pannun.

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