Ruling on immunity in 84' riots case of Kamal Nath soon: SFJ

New York: A federal judge here is expected to announce his ruling "within the next 60 days" on whether Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath enjoys diplomatic immunity in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case filed against him here.

The court that is hearing the case had reserved the ruling on the matter yesterday, according to Gurpatwant Pannun, Legal Advisor for advocacy group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which has filed the case against Nath.

Judge Robert Sweet of the US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York heard arguments in the case against the Minister.

After hearing the arguments from both sides in a 45-minute long hearing, Sweet reserved his ruling.

"He is expected to announce his decision within 60 days", Pannun said.

"We are still very optimistic since we have a strong case and the law is on our side," Pannun said.

He said the judge heard arguments on personal and subject matter jurisdiction as well as Nath's claims of diplomatic immunity during yesterday hearing.

No new date in the case has been fixed yet.

He said Nath failed to produce during the hearing a 'Statement of Interest' from US Department of State in support of his claim to diplomatic immunity.

SFJ has requested the court to issue a default judgement against him for failing to respond within 21 days after receiving the Summons on April 6, 2010 on his claim to diplomatic immunity.

SFJ has already demanded a "jury trial" from the court during which plaintiffs wants to submit documentary evidence proving participation of Nath and other Congress leaders in the November 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Pannun said despite being aware of the case and acknowledging receipt of summons and complaint, Nath has not yet responded.

"Nath has completely ignored the summons so far and that is why the plaintiffs are requesting the court to issue a default judgement against him," he said.

In a motion filed on June 24 this year, Nath has claimed that he is entitled to immunity from prosecution in the US and that he was not served with summons or complaints during his April 2010 visit to New York.

Pannun said the sikh community would hold a protest rally on September 24 during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address to the UN General Assembly demanding that Nath be sacked from the cabinet and Congress leaders involved in the riots be prosecuted.