NEW YORK, NY (TIP): Sonia Gandhi’s attorney Ravi Batra submitted to the court of Judge Brian M. Cogan, October 21 that Mrs. Gandhi was at a hospital for treatment of an undisclosed medical condition and was not served with summons and also contested that the court had no jurisdiction over the matter. However SFJ filed a service affidavit claiming alternate service to Mrs. Gandhi on September 9, 2013 through the staff of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where she had gone for her treatment. The summons were issued by the US court on September 3. The SFJ affidavit also claimed that a security agent was also handed over the summons as the court had allowed service of summons through hospital staff or security agents including those of the US Secret Service and the FBI. While Judge Brian M Cogan did not allow plaintiffs’ request for issuance of certificate of default against Gandhi, which was sought on the ground that Gandhi, after being served, had failed to answer the allegations of human rights violation within the time allowed by the federal rules of civil procedure, the plaintiffs got four weeks time to submit an amended plaint.
Sonia Gandhi’s counsel Ravi Batra said in a statement to The Indian Panorama, “October 22, 2013, at about 3 pm, plaintiffs filed a serviceaffidavit claiming alternate service on Mrs. Gandhi on 9/9/13 between 7-8pm, via Sloan receptionist, nurse supervisor and security employees. Plaintiffs also requested at 3 pm, the court clerk to issue a mandatory Default Judgment against Mrs. Gandhi. At 3:18 pm, Judge Cogan, aware of our denial of service contained in our notice of appearance, denied the grant of mandatory Default Judgment. “Later, at the Rule 16 court conference, which went overtime till almost 6pm, J. Cogan granted plaintiffs’ counsel 4 weeks to amend the complaint, given the legal infirmities pointed out by Supreme Court precedents on Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim Protection Act and relied upon by us to question the court’s subject matter jurisdiction. “We will then move to inter alia, dismiss the case with finality, seek an anti-suit injunction against SFJ, and other appropriate relief to remedy provable bad faith and/or vexatious litigation by plaintiff. “As always, the noble judiciary stands guard to provide a merit-based dispute resolution venue to society, but can never be used as mere fodder for publicity stunts.”