US court serves summons to Sonia Gandhi in hospital

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 11, 2013 05:22 hrs

New York: A Sikh rights group says it has delivered a US federal court's summons to Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, who is in New York for medical treatment, through hospital staff and her security detail.

US based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), which has filed a class action suit against Gandhi for shielding party officials allegedly involved in inciting attacks on Sikhs in November 1984, said the summons were delivered Monday at Sloan-Kettering cancer centre in New York.

SFJ attorney Gurpatwant S. Pannun said Ester Ruiz, night shift nursing supervisor at the Sloan-Kettering was handed a copy of the summons, complaint and Judge Brian M Cogan's order directing her to give the documents to Gandhi.

A copy of the summons was also handed to Alvin Millner, the security manager at the hospital for delivery of the same to Gandhi.

Under federal rules, Gandhi gets 21 days to respond to the summons barring which a default judgment will be entered against her, Pannun said.

Earlier Monday, SFJ had obtained an ex parte order from a US federal court for delivery of summons to Gandhi through hospital staff or security personnel assigned to her on the ground that the process servers could not reach her due to her heavy security detail.

According to Pannun, the group in an emergency motion had argued that as Gandhi is a foreigner and a high profile political figure who is the subject of heavy security, the personal service of summons as required by law is impracticable.

The suit under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) accuses Gandhi of shielding and protecting Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and other Congress party leaders from being prosecuted for their alleged role in the 1984 violence.

The 27-page complaint against Gandhi alleges that between Nov 1 and 4, 1984 about 30,000 members of the Sikh community "were intentionally tortured, raped and murdered by groups that were incited, organized, controlled and armed" by the ruling Congress party.

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