According to Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Legal Advisor-Sikhs for Justice, Following Washington DC’s law on service of summons, plaintiffs “Sikhs for Justice” (SFJ) will now serve Manmohan Singh in India through Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents. Due to the high security detail, the rights group could not serve outstanding US Federal Court summons on Prime Minister during Obama-Singh meeting at White House.
Rule 4(f)(1) of District of Columbia Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure provides that Service upon individuals in a foreign country may be effected by any agreed means reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those means authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents;
To comply with the requirements of Rule 4(f)(1), SFJ has retained the services of “Process Forwarding International” (PFI), a Washington based firm to serve summons on PM Singh in New Delhi. PFI is the official Process Server to “United States Department of Justice” and “US Department of State” and has extensive experience in executing service of process with relevant authority in foreign country using approved international law methods: the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil & Commercial Matters.
The Hague Service Convention is a treaty which allows service of summons and other judicial papers between the signatory countries without diplomatic involvement. The Hague Service Convention was signed and ratified by India in 2006 while United States has been a signatory to the treaty since 1967. Under Hague Service Convention, a Central Authority has been established by the Government of India for receiving and serving summons from foreign courts. Under Article 15 of the Hague Service Convention, once copy of Summons and Complaint is delivered to the Central Authority of India, service is considered complete.
Justifying the filing of human rights violation law suit against PM Singh before Washington Federal Court, attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ stated that the US Congress passed ATCA and TVPA as a tool for victims of human rights violations to vindicate their grievances against powerful political leaders involved in the crimes against humanity, who are untouchable in their own countries. To hold PM Singh accountable for torture and extra judicial killing of Sikhs, we are invoking Hague Service Convention to accomplish the service of US court summons in India, added attorney Pannun.
The human rights violation law suit against Manmohan Singh has been filed under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) for funding several counter insurgency operations in Punjab during 1990’s resulting in more than hundred thousand Sikhs being killed extra judicially by Indian security forces. The plaintiffs in the class action law suit are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Under ATCA and TVPA, the US Federal Courts have jurisdiction over cases of human rights violations even if they have occurred on foreign soils as in this case.