The Supreme Court has agreed to review its 2018 verdict in a 32-year-old road rage case involving Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
A bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Friday gave Sidhu two weeks’ time to respond to a review petition that prayed the court to revisit the quantum of punishment awarded to him by the apex court in its May 2018 order. The petition has been filed by the family of 65-year-old Gurnam Singh, who died in a road rage accident involving Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu.
On May 15, 2018, the Supreme Court had reversed the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which held Sidhu guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced him to three years in jail. The, top court, however, had held the former cricketer guilty of “voluntarily causing hurt” a senior citizen and imposed a fine of ₹1,000 under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code.
Submitting his affidavit, Sidhu on Friday urged the top court to dismiss the review petition, arguing that it was “not maintainable, and the incident happened 33 years ago.” Stating that he has had “an impeccable political and sporting career in the last three decades,” Sidhu requested the court not to change his sentence into a jail term.
“Further, the answering respondent (Sidhu) herein, through various philanthropic gestures has made contributions towards social welfare by helping those in need of immediate financial assistance and by contributing to the development of environmental projects. The above stated indisputable facts exhibit that the answering respondent has been a law-abiding citizen and ought not be punished any further,” the affidavit said.
In September 1999, a trial court had acquitted Sidhu of murder charges. However, the high court upturned the order, convicting him and Sandhu under Section 304 (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC in a December 2006 judgment. The duo were sentenced to three years in jail and imposed a fine of ₹1 lakh each. However, the apex court had stayed the conviction in 2007 stating that the medical evidence in the case was uncertain.
The development comes in the middle of the Punjab Assembly elections in which Sidhu is contesting as a Congress candidate from the Amritsar (East) seat against former Punjab minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia.