Case of summons ‘served’ on Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal tossed out by court

Sikh advocacy group has filed case against Sonia Gandhi too.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: The case lodged against Parkash Singh Badal, the chief minister of Punjab, by a Sikh advocacy group in the US, has been tossed out because it could not be conclusively proven that Badal was ever handed a subpoena to appear in court.

Earlier this month, the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case for the first time, saying that Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) would be given some additional time to either definitively serve Badal with a subpoena or find new evidence against him, but that apparently did not happen.

The case originally began last year, when SFJ wanted to bring Badal to court for his alleged persecution of Sikhs in his home state, saying that he has ordered killings and committed heinous human rights crimes. They then learned that Badal would be coming to Milwaukee for a wedding. However, a week before he came, the Oak Creek gurudwara attack happened, leaving six Sikhs dead.

When Badal was set to appear at an event at Oak Creek High School, SFJ sent a process server to hand Badal a subpoena, giving him a description of Badal to work with: he would be elderly, have a turban, and wear glasses. The server said that he handed Badal the subpoena, but Badal’s lawyers said that it wasn’t Badal who was served; instead, it was given to an Illinois man who was at the event as a Punjabi translator.

Now the case against Badal has been dropped for good. But that isn’t the only legal proceeding on SFJ’s horizon.

The organization has also brought a case against Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi for her alleged role in the Sikh riots of 1984. Gandhi was in the US in September, receiving treatment at New York’s Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital for an undisclosed condition, when the SFJ filed its initial legal summons to Gandhi.

Now, Gandhi has been given until January 2 to respond to the charges, according to US courts. The complaint against her was filed in November, but was delayed because the paperwork was not filed properly. It is unclear what exactly will happen should Gandhi not respond by next Thursday.

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