Navjot Singh Sidhu
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SC sentences Navjot Sidhu to 1 year in jail in 1988 road rage case

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Former Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu has been sentenced with rigourous imprisonment for one year by the Supreme Court on Thursday (May 19) in the over three- decade-old 1988 road rage case. This judgement is in response to a review plea against an earlier SC verdict filed by the kin of Gurnam Singh, the victim who had lost his life in the incident.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul had allowed the plea seeking review of the top court’s 2018 order by which the fiery political leader had been let off with just a fine of ₹1000.

Meanwhile, the cricketer turned politician Sidhu tweeted this afternoon: “Will submit to the majesty of the law”.

Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sandhu were acquitted by the trial court in September 1999. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had reversed this in December 2006 and first convicted Sidhu of culpable homicide and sentenced him to a three-year jail term. However, on May 15, 2018, an SC bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Kaul, had set this aside and held that Sidhu was guilty of the offence under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). A fine was imposed at that time.

The SC said that Sidhu “cannot be held responsible for causing the death of Gurnam Singh. Therefore, the judgment under appeal is required to be set aside and is accordingly set aside”.

The victim’s family however felt there was an “error apparent on the face of the record” in the judgement holding him guilty only for causing hurt and filed a review plea.

What is the incident?

The incident dates back to December 27, 1988, when, according to the prosecution, Navjot  and his friend Rupinder Sandhu were in a vehicle and had an altercation with Gurnam Singh, when he asked them to give way. Police claimed that Singh was beaten up by Sidhu, who later fled the scene. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead.

In his affidavit to the SC, Sidhu had told however that there was “no conclusive evidence to show that the single fist blow led to the death of a 65-year-old man”. He had also accused the victim’s family of making a “malicious attempt” to get the case reopened.

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