The radical rights group ‘Sikhs for Justice’ on Tuesday managed to serve a summons on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, through hospital and security staff at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, for allegedly shielding prominent partymen accused of involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. It was done amid heavy commotion and resistance from the hospital staff.
Nursing Supervisor Ester Ruiz was given a copy of the summons and complaint as well as Federal Judge Brian M. Cogan’s order directing her to give the documents to Ms. Gandhi. A copy of the summons was also handed over to hospital security manager Alvin Millner, the SFJ said in a statement.
As per U.S. Federal rules, Ms. Gandhi has to respond to the allegations by September 30. The September 3 summons states if she fails to respond within 21 days, a default judgment will be entered against her.
On Monday, Judge Cogan ordered that the summons and complaint be served on Ms. Gandhi through the hospital staff or security personnel, after the plaintiffs requested the court to allow alternative means of serving the summons as it was difficult for them to do the job, pointing out that she was a high profile leader with special security.
According to a similar decision in the case involving the former Chinese Premier Li Peng, once a summons and a complaint are delivered to the security personnel or staff, issuing the summons to the defendant is considered accomplished by the U.S. Federal Courts in Alien Tort and Torture Victim Protection Act cases, the SFJ said.
The class action suit against Ms. Gandhi was filed by two riot victims of under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) for allegedly shielding and protecting Kamal Nath, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and other Congress leaders.