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Sikh rights group to challenge dismissal of Badal case in US

A US-based Sikh group today said that it will challenge the decision of an American district court last week to dismiss alleged human rights violations case against Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

world Updated: May 20, 2013 19:30 IST

A US-based Sikh group on Monday said it would challenge last week's decision of a US district court to dismiss an alleged human rights violations case against Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) had filed the case last year, but it was dismissed by a US district court in Wisconsin on Friday.

The group said it would appeal against the order in the US court of appeals, asking for remand to depose Badal before a US federal judge on the issue of service of summons.

The SFJ has retained the services of a top Chicago-based law firm and famed Super Lawyers Pavich Law Group with Ian Levin, a former US federal judge, who have experience in cases related to human rights violations filed under Alien Tort Claims Act and Torture Victim Protection Act, the rights group said in a statement.

In its order, the US district court in Wisconsin had on May 17 ruled that Badal was never served with the court summons, as was being claimed by the New York-based SFJ.

Judge Jynn Adelman, in his five-page order, said the SFJ came out with a "creative" but unconvincing argument that the court summons were served on Badal, whereas these were served by Christopher Kratochvil and his brother on behalf of the SFJ on Surinderpal Singh Kalra, believing that he was the Punjab chief minister.

"I have no doubt that 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.

In a statement, the SFJ said the appeal to the US circuit court would be based on the argument that "Judge Adelman erred in his ruling while dismissing the lawsuit on the ground that it is a simple case of 'mistaken identity' and a US department of justice interpreter received the summons instead of Badal."

Badal and his attorney, backed by strong evidence from the state department which had provided him the necessary diplomatic security, argued that the CM was not at Oak Creek School when the Kratochvill brothers claimed that they served him with the summons on behalf of the SFJ.

The state department testified before the court that Badal was shopping at a restaurant supply store, some 27km from the school.

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

The SFJ, in its court case, alleged that Badal violated the Torture Victim Protection Act and the Alien Tort Statute in Punjab.

First Published: May 20, 2013 10:12 IST