US court rules in favour of Indian diplomat’s daughter

Oct 04 2013, 17:59 IST
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SummaryIndia has said it had taken up the case “very seriously” with the US government.

A US federal judge here has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed against New York City and police officials by an Indian diplomat’s daughter, who is seeking $ 1.5 million in damages for being jailed for a day on suspicion of sending obscene emails to her teacher.

US District Court Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York ruled in a 78-page order that the case filed by Krittika Biswas will not be dismissed in its entirety as sought by the defendants - New York City, the New York Police Department and New York City Department of Education.

Biswas had filed the lawsuit seeking $1.5 million in damages for her wrongful imprisonment and suspension from school.

She was detained and arrested in Feb. 2011 on grounds that she sent “offensive and sexually threatening” emails to her teacher in Queens’s John Browne High School.

Defendants have moved to “dismiss” the lawsuit “in its entirety for failure to state a claim” under federal rules.

The lawsuit details the circumstances that led to Biswas being handcuffed and her forced imprisonment for almost 28 hours “for nothing”.

Biswas was “forced to be processed through the criminal justice system, and spent over 24 hours in jail without being allowed to meet her parents or senior Indian diplomats. All of this occurred, despite her actual innocence as this was a case of mistaken identity”, it said.

It states Biswas was discriminated against and falsely accused of sending offensive e-mails because of her ethnicity.

The school and police authorities “selected Krittika for false arrest and detention, malicious prosecution, suspension and disciplinary treatment due to her race and ethnicity as an Indian of South East Asian decent”, it said.

Koeltl ruled that “although instances of tension between a teacher and a student over academic matters may have suggested motive for the student to send out threatening or offensive e-mails, merely one or two such instances do not constitute...even a strong reason to suspect”.

Ruling in favour of Biswas, Koeltl said the court cannot conclude that these facts, which the defendants contend were relied upon by the NYPD individuals, were sufficient to establish probable cause. “The plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to hold defendants liable for false arrest,” he said.

Among claims that have not been withdrawn are false arrest, excessive force, conspiracy and malicious prosecution.

“If they again survive the defendants’ summary judgment motion, a just jury will decide defendants’ guilt, and how much Krittika is owed in

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