Requests 90 Days Extension to Defend Charges of Human Rights Violation
NEW YORK (TIP): Responding to the US Court Summons, Prakash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of State of Punjab in India through its attorneys sought additional 90 days to defend the charges of commanding and shielding the officers responsible for custodial torture and extra judicial killings of Sikhs. On August 08, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin issued Summons against Badal who was in Wisconsin on a private visit to attend the marriage ceremony of the business tycoon Darshan Singh Dhaliwal’s daughter. Badal has hired two top law firms, New York based “Kirkland & Ellis LLP” and Milwaukee based “Michael Best and Friedrich LLP”, to defend him against the charges of continuous human rights violations in the State of Punjab during his regime as the Chief Minister. On August 30, representing Badal, attorney Michelle L. Jacobs submitted a motion before the US court asking “to dismiss for failure to effectuate service; or in the alternative for an additional 90 days to file a responsive pleading”.
Defending Badal attorney Jacobs in the motion argued that “On information and belief, the defendant was not personally served with Summons at Oak Creek High School, Wisconsin, and service of Summons as claimed by plaintiffs is “invalid and procedurally deficient”. The motion further argues that “the importance of proper service is paramount in this case because the plaintiffs’ sole claim for jurisdiction and venue against the defendant, a foreign citizen, is based on plaintiffs’ assertion that the defendant was present in the state of Wisconsin within the territorial boundaries of this district at or around the time of filing this complaint. The complaint alleges no other connection to the State and Eastern District of Wisconsin.
” According to attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), since the issuance of summons against Badal, scores of Sikhs who have suffered torture and human rights abuses during the Badal regime have come forward with proofs of abuses and want to be part of the case against Badal before US Court. SFJ will amend the complaint against Badal to add additional charges, plaintiffs and witnesses who have suffered custodial abuses and torture, added attorney Pannun.
Since the issuance of summons against Badal, the family members of the plaintiffs Jagtar Singh, Jeet Singh, Gurdeep Kaur and Avtar Singh are being frequented by the Punjab Police and threatened with dire consequences. Citing the threats and continuous harassment by Badal regime of the family members of plaintiffs back home, attorney Pannun stated that such threats by Badal regime not only prove continued human rights violations but also corroborate the charges of abuse in the past by the Badal regime. The lawsuit against Badal has been filed under Alien Torts Claims Act and Torture Victims Protection Act on the charges of custodial torture and shielding the Police officers responsible for torture, extra judicial killings and continuous human rights violations against the Sikh community in Punjab