US court dismisses Sikh group's case against Parkash Singh Badal

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US court dismisses Sikh group's case against Parkash Singh Badal

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Chicago:  A US Court of Appeals has again dismissed a human rights violation case against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the ground that a Sikh rights group failed to serve federal court summons on him.

Dismissing a petition for "panel rehearing" filed by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD-Amritsar) the seventh circuit court of appeals on Monday upheld its decision regarding service of summons to Mr Badal.

The court also rejected SFJ claim that Mr Badal's State Department security team was complicit in shielding Mr Badal from suit.

The trial court had dismissed the SFJ lawsuit against Mr Badal on the grounds that a Chicago-based Sikh Surinder Pal Singh Kalra was served with the summons instead of Mr Badal at Oak Creek High School, Wisconsin, on August 9 as claimed by SFJ.

SFJ petition for "panel rehearing" had argued that 30 days given to plaintiffs were not sufficient to complete jurisdictional discovery to find out whether it was Mr Kalra or Mr Badal who was served or Mr Kalra's testimony was fabricated or influenced by Badal's agents.

SFJ attorney Gurpatwant S Pannun said SFJ and SAD will now file a "motion to remand" the case to district court to establish that alternative service of summons through Hague Service has been accomplished on Mr Badal.

The Hague Service is a treaty signed by both India and United States which allows service of judicial papers between the signatory countries without diplomatic involvement, Pannun said.

The Sikh groups have retained the services of "Process Forwarding International" (PFI), a Washington based company to accomplish service on Mr Badal in India.

The two groups have accused Mr Badal of "protecting and commanding a police force responsible for torture and extra judicial killings of Sikhs in the state of Punjab" during his tenure for more than 12 years from 1997 till 2002 and from 2007 till present.

The groups will also file an appeal with the US Supreme Court challenging the appeals court's order, Pannun said. The plaintiffs have till March 23 to do so.



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