Sonia Gandhi Declines to Show US Court Her Passport in Sikhs Case

Image: Sonia Gandhi Declines to Show US Court Her Passport in Sikhs Case

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 07:57 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress party, is refusing to provide her passport to a U.S. court, claiming that her government did not grant her permission for such a release.

Gandhi was ordered on March 20 by the Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York to provide her passport in regards to a pending case filed by U.S.-based rights group Sikhs For Justice involving her alleged role in shielding and protecting individuals responsible for genocidal attacks in 1984, The Times of India reported.

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The Sikhs For Justice claimed that they served Gandhi with a summons on Sept. 9 while she was at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The summons was reportedly handed to a member of her security staff and not directly to Gandhi. The politician failed to respond to the summons.

The Federal Court wrote that her passport was needed "to corroborate her otherwise-unsupported declaration stating that defendant was not in the United States at the time of service" of summons.

On April 7, Gandhi's attorney Ravi Batra submitted a letter to the court from the politician.

"In matters of disclosure of my travels which are contained in the passport document, the Government of India has informed me that they would not permit such a disclosure," the letter read.

"However, as I have nothing to hide I voluntarily relinquish the plea of lack of personal jurisdiction," the letter continued. "I may add that present submission is without prejudice to the plea of want of jurisdiction in relation to the subject matter."

Batra explained the purpose of the letter.

"Our filing with the court will serve to expedite the Court's determination of our pending motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as well as inter alia, issue an anti-suit injunction against SFJ, who as a corporation, can never legally be a Alien Tort Statute or Torture Victim Protection Act plaintiff," Batra added regarding the case, The Indian Times noted.

Despite her famous surname, Gandhi is not related to the nation's well-known independence leader Mahatma Gandhi. She is a descendent of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

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