A US based Sikh group has challenged the dismissal of a rights violation case against India’s Congress party relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots before the US Court of Appeals here.
Sikhs for Justice(SFJ) contends the case “touches and concerns” the US and the group has “institutional standing” to seek “declaratory judgment” on November 1984 violence against the Sikh community.
US District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet had on April 24 dismissed the lawsuit against Congress party for failure to show sufficient “touch and concern” to the US.
However, he had also ruled that a corporate defendant can be liable under the Alien Torts Statute (ATS) assuming that the statute’s “touch and concern” requirements are adequately alleged.
SFJ’s appeal is based on grounds that the victims’ group claim is not barred under a US Supreme Court ruling as plaintiffs have already been granted refugee status by California federal court for being victims of violence.
This proves “touch and concern” and sufficient connection to the US.
On the issue of SFJ’s standing in the case, the appeal claims that federal law grants “institutional standing” to human rights groups to seek “declaratory judgments” by the US Courts.
In this case, SFJ is seeking a judgment to declare November 1984 violence against the Sikh community after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as “genocide”.
The monetary compensation against Congress Party is being sought only by the individual plaintiffs who are survivors or legal heirs of the 1984 victims, SFJ said.