US court to hear Kamal Nath’s claim to diplomatic immunity

August 20th, 2011 - 10:45 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Aug 20 (IANS) A New York court is set to hear arguments Sep 21 over 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 will hold an in-person hearing to record legal arguments and examine the evidence, according to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a US based human rights advocacy group, which had filed the case against Nath.

SFJ Legal Advisor Gurpatwant S Pannun said 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 November 1984.

The SFJ response argued that Nath’s claim to “special mission diplomatic immunity” is baseless because he has no support from US Department of State and Nath came to attend conferences organised by US India Business Council in April 2010 when he was served with summons.

Besides claiming diplomatic immunity on the ground that he was on a special mission as a government official on his numerous travels to New York, Nath had also claimed sovereign immunity under common law; and immunity under Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA) of the US.

Requesting the court to dismiss the law suit, Kamal Nath filed a sworn affidavit June 24 that during his April 2010 visit to New York, no one ever served him with the summons and complaint.

Sweet had March 1 issued summons to Nath and the Congress party in the case accusing them of “conspiring, aiding, abetting and carrying out organised attacks on Sikh population of India in November 1984″, according to Pannun.

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