US court reserves judgement in Kamal Nath case

September 22nd, 2011 - 11:17 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New York, Sep 22 (IANS) A US federal court has reserved judgment on Indian Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath’s claim for diplomatic immunity in a case over his alleged role in the November 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Judge Robert W. Sweet of the US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York reserved his judgement after hearing arguments for about 45 minutes in the case filed by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a US based human rights advocacy group.

In Wednesday’s hearing, Kamal Nath failed to produce “Statement of Interest” from US State Department in support of his claim to diplomatic immunity, according to SFJ Legal Advisor Gurpatwant S Pannun.

The group had Aug 12 filed its response to Kamal Nath’s claim to immunity in the case relating to his alleged role in an attack on Gurudwara Rakab Ganj in Delhi in Nov 1984.

SFJ requested the court to issue a default judgment against Kamal Nath for failing to respond within 21 days after receiving the Summons on April 6, 2010.

IT has also demanded a “jury trial” from the court during which plaintiffs will submit documentary evidence on the alleged participation of Kamal Nath and other Congress party leaders in the Nov 1984 riots.

SFJ argued that the judge has personal and subject matter jurisdiction over Kamal Nath under the Alien Torts Claim Act and Torture Victim Protection Act.

In his motion filed June 24 Nath had claimed that he is entitled to immunity from prosecution in the United States and that no one has ever served him with summons and complaints during his April 2010 visit to New York.

The Sikh group is also planning to hold a protest rally Saturday during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s address to the UN General Assembly to demand sacking of Kamal Nath from the cabinet and prosecution of Congress leaders involved in the 1984 riots.

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