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HT Correpondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 18, 2013
A US court has dismissed a case filed by a Sikh rights group accusing Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal of being involved in human rights violations. In its order, the US district court in Wisconsin ruled that Badal was never served with the court summons as was being claimed by the New York-based Sikhs for Justice, which had filed the case against him.

In fact, judge Jynn Adelman in his five-page order, said that Sikhs for Justice came out with a "creative" but unconvincing argument that the court summons were served to Badal, which indeed was served by Christopher Kratochvil and his brother, on behalf of SFJ to another Surinderpal Singh Kalra, believing that he was the Punjab chief minister.

"I have no doubt that Christopher Kratochvil and his brother sincerely believe that they served the defendant, but I conclude that they made an honest mistake, one that was understandable under the unusual circumstances of this case," the judge wrote.

Kratochvil apparently served summons to Kalra presuming that he was Badal on August 9, 2012, where the latter was attending a public function at Oak Creek High School following the death of six Sikh worshippers at Oak Creek gurdwara.

Badal and his attorney, backed up by strong evidence from the State Department which had provided him the necessary diplomatic security, argued that the chief minister was not at the Oak Creek School when the Kratochvill brothers claimed that they served summons to him on behalf of Sikhs for Justice.

The State Department testified before the court that Badal was shopping at a restaurant supply store, some 17 miles from the Oak Creek School.

The judge, in his order, said that Sikhs for Justice in an attempt to "overcome the strong evidence" in favour of Badal, made "a number of creative arguments" but none were convincing.