A federal court on Thursday issued summons to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a civil action complaint filed against him by a human rights group over Gujarat riots of 2002.
The court directs the Prime Minister to file a reply with 30 days of the summons being served on him, which may never happen, according to US and Indian officials.
“We are aware of the lawsuit,” said a senior administration official in a news briefing prevewing the prime minister’s coming meetings with President Barack Obama.
But “we will not be distracted by it,” the official added.
Besides, it was pointed out, heads of state and government traveling to the US are covered by immunity from local legal action while in office. These notices and summon were also not “serviceable” during their visit.
And all of the above apply to heads of delegations to the UN.
The lawsuit has been filed by a rights group called American Justice Center, formed recently, it said, to “provide legal aid to victims of mass violence who have been deprived of legal options to justice due to fear of retaliation”.
“The founders of AJC have known the victim community and have seen their suffering in the aftermath of the Gujarat 2002 massacres,” the organization added in a response to a request for more details about the suit, the complaints and the organization.