A Sikh rights body in the US has said that it will use provisions of the Hague Service Treaty to serve the summons of a US court on Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in a case accusing him of human rights violations.
The Hague Service Treaty, of which India is a signatory, allows the service of judicial papers between signatory countries without diplomatic involvement.
The Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), which earlier filed a human rights violation case against Badal along with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), took this decision after it failed to serve the summons on Badal recently.
"We will use the Hague Service Convention to serve outstanding federal summons on Badal in India to make him accountable before the Wisconsin federal court for protecting and commanding a police force responsible for torture and extra-judicial killings of Sikhs in Punjab," said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal adviser to the SFJ.
The eastern district of Wisconsin has given the SFJ time till October 24 to serve the summons on Badal in the human rights violation lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal have "actively shielded, protected and promoted the police who were or have been involved in gross human rights violations, extra-judicial killings and torture."
The SFJ added that it had retained the services of Process Forwarding International (PFI), a Washington-based company, to accomplish the service on Badal in India.
"The PFI is the official process server to the United States department of justice and the US department of state and has extensive experience in executing the service of process with authority using approved international law methods," it said.
The rights group added that under the Hague Service Treaty, a central authority had been established by the Indian government for receiving and serving judicial documents from foreign courts as provided under the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters.
"Under Article 15 of the Hague Service Convention, a service is considered complete once the copy of the summons and complaint is delivered to the Central Authority of India which is responsible to receive judicial documents from foreign courts," the SFJ said.A similar case against Badal was dismissed by a Wisconsin court last year after the SFJ served the summons on another person instead of the CM.