NEW YORK - A US court has granted a New York-based Sikh rights group a motion to allow service of summons on former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through his daughter Amrit Singh, a permanent U.S. resident, in a case of violation of human rights during the elder Singh's tenure.
The leave was granted by US District Judge James Boasberg in the District of Columbia, a press release issued by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) said. On Tuesday, the judge ruled that Manmohan Singh was immune from claims that he supported the genocide of Sikhs during his tenure as head of the country but did not have ‘head of state immunity’ for claims arising from his tenure as finance minister (1991-1996).
The Sikh group filed a motion on August 18 for leave to effect service through alternative means to authorize service of the complaint and summons on the defendant by alternate means. Reasoning to grant the motion, the Sikh group claimed that the plaintiffs met with a stonewall in their attempts to serve the defendant through Hague Convention via Central Authority of India and hence the request to use alternative means of service.
While requesting US judge to allow service of summons on daughter of the former prime minister, the rights group said, ‘The defendant Manmohan Singh's daughter Amrit Singh is a known individual and has been residing and working in New York for several years. The relationship between the defendant Manmohan Singh and Amrit Singh as father and daughter is beyond doubt and during each of his trips to the United States defendant has been reported to have met Amrit Singh.
Therefore, delivery of summons and complaint to Amrit Singh will certainly reach the defendant.’
The motion further states, ‘Amrit Singh is an attorney admitted to practice before the courts of the United States and a seemingly law-abiding and responsible individual who will not falter in conveying and delivering the court summons and complaint to her father the defendant, once she receives the court papers.’ ‘Reassuringly enough, Amrit Singh is a human rights lawyer who feels for the victims of torture and has demonstrated commitment to human rights and torture related issues,’ SFJ further said.
SFJ and US resident Inderjit Singh had charged in the 2013 suit that as finance minister Manmohan Singh ‘funded several counter insurgency operations in state of Punjab during the 1990s resulting thousands of Sikhs being killed extra- judicially by the security forces.’