The US government has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against Secretary of State John Kerry by a Sikh rights group that wants RSS to be designated as a “foreign terrorist organisation”, saying the group does not have “any entitlement” to make such a demand.
US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara filed on behalf of Kerry a 20-page motion yesterday asking the Manhattan court to dismiss the complaint filed by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), citing lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
SFJ had asked the court to declare that RSS as a “foreign terrorist organisation” under relevant US law and to direct the Secretary of State to designate it as such under that law.
“But neither SFJ nor this court possesses authority to compel the Secretary to designate an entity as a foreign terrorist organisation — a discretionary action that implicates important foreign affairs and national security considerations, and which is entrusted to the political branches. The complaint is therefore subject to dismissal on numerous grounds,” Bharara said in the papers.
He said the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over SFJ’s claims since the group lacks standing to bring such claims.
“The statute that authorises the Secretary to designate foreign terrorist organisations does not create a private right of action that allows third parties such as SFJ to compel a designation,” he added.
He said federal law does not impose on the Secretary “any duty, let alone a clear and non-discretionary duty”, to designate an entity as a foreign terrorist organisation at the request of a third party.
“Nor does the statute or the Executive Order confer any entitlement upon any person or entity to have the Secretary make such a designation,” he said.
“Allowing third parties such as SFJ to compel action by the Secretary in the realm of foreign affairs merely by submitting a letter, and then seek a judicial remedy once that third party has decided that the Secretary has failed to adequately respond to that letter, would not ‘enhance’ the process of designating foreign terrorist organisations in the interest of national security, but rather would impede it,” Bharara said.
SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said the group will challenge the US government’s bid to block the labeling of RSS as terror group.
The rights groups had filed the lawsuit in January asking a federal court here to designate RSS as a “foreign terrorist organisation” for “believing in and practicing a fascist ideology and for running a passionate, vicious and violent campaign to turn India into a ‘Hindu’ nation with a homogeneous religious and cultural identity”.
Kerry, named as a defendant in the lawsuit, had been summoned in the case.