Want to pocket a cool $10,000 in US? Deliver court summons to PM Modi, says NGO
New York: The civil rights body behind a lawsuit filed against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots case has offered a reward of $ 10,000 to anyone who could serve him the court summons.
New York-based legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun told reporters here yesterday that American Justice Centre (AJC) is offering a reward of $ 10,000 to anyone who will serve the summons on Modi during his various public engagements in the city over the period of next two days. The reward will be given to the person who serves the summons and brings a pictorial and video proof that the summons have been served.
The court has given three weeks’ time to respond once the summons is served on Modi. However, the US government has held that sitting heads of government enjoy personal inviolability while in the US, which means they cannot be personally handed or delivered papers to begin the process of a lawsuit.India has rubbished the case as “frivolous and malicious attempt” by “vested interests” to “vitiate” the atmosphere during Modi’s visit. It has also made it very clear that Modi was “ring fenced” and there was no question of anyone serving any summons on him and that an action in the matter was underway. The group said that service in the lawsuit is being governed under the New York State laws, which provide that the service can be accomplished from a distance of even 10 feet and “papers can be thrown” over the individual concerned.
This will be taken as the summons having being served. The AJC has also hired process servers to serve the summons. The summons against Modi were issued Thursday by the US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York for his alleged role in 2002 communal riots in Gujarat when he was the chief minister.
These have been issued on a civil lawsuit filed against Modi by the AJC along with two survivors of the post-Godhra violence under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. Seeking compensatory and punitive damages, the 28-page complaint charges Modi with committing crimes against humanity, extra-judicial killings, torture and inflicting mental and physical trauma on the victims, mostly from the Muslim community.
The Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA)were enacted to enable victims of human rights abuses to pursue justice against their tormentors even when the crimes were committed outside the US.
AJC President Joseph Whittington said that while serving the summons on Modi will not be easy, it will be a symbolic victory for the victims of the 2002 riots. Pannun said, “as a Prime Minister, Modi will be immune from the acts he has committed as a Prime Minister but not for the acts that he has committed as the Chief Minister of Gujarat when the riots happened.”