A US federal court has given Congress president Sonia Gandhi till January 2 to respond to a Sikh body’s charges of protecting and shielding party leaders allegedly involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh violence.

Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) had filed an amended class action complaint against Ms. Gandhi on December 4 citing what it called “specific instances of impunity, promotions and party tickets” to Congress leaders and police officials involved in 1984 violence.

The SFJ complaint against Ms. Gandhi invokes the federal court jurisdiction over the case based on Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1992 giving the survivors of human rights abuses the right to sue the perpetrators in the US.

While SFJ claims that the court summons were served on Ms. Gandhi through hospital and security staff at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York on September 9, Ms. Gandhi’s attorneys had challenged the service of summons.